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About a month ago, a diligent technician in JouleBug’s vast Intelligence and Monitoring Department (which is to say, our dev team that does everything) noticed an anomaly in our server stats: a massive spike in usage from some place calling itself “the Fenn School.”  Could it be a spy?  Were we under attack?  What about our precious bodily fluids?!

Our intelligence folks sent a memo all the way up the JouleBug chain of command (by yelling across the office, “Hey, look at this!”).  Leadership responded with orders and proper clearances to launch a full investigation (by replying, “Well … what is it?”).

What we found was that we were not, in fact, under attack. The Fenn School, located in Concord, Massachusetts, (and on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest) had launched a JouleBug contest between faculty and staff, and they were busily buzzing an impressive array of sustainable actions in the app.

We wish we could take credit for this, but it was all the idea and initiative of Fenn’s Sustainability Coordinator Cameren Cousins, who teaches Latin at the school.  She read about our app on Treehugger last year and thought it would be a fun way to draw some attention to sustainability at the school.

“The faculty wanted to model sustainable behavior for our boys,” Cousins told us when we contacted her. “We ask them to do a lot, we wanted to show them that the adults in the Fenn community are just as committed to sustainable behavior as the boys.”

We were delighted!  The Fenn School was doing exactly what JouleBug was designed for: a competitive game to engage people in everyday sustainable activities.  About a dozen faculty and staff at the school were taking part.  They had some encouragement — and friendly trash-talk — from their students, about 320 boys in grades 4-9, who helped them find opportunities for sustainability in the classroom.  They also made announcements about the contest at all-school meetings.

A JouleBug contest is far from the only way Fenn is learning sustainability by doing.  Students tend an on-site garden and compost the school’s yard and food waste; every October is Manpower Month, in which the boys track miles walked or biked instead of driven; and Fenn ninth graders are converting a diesel car to run on used vegetable oil.  Of course, we’re partial to this JouleBug-related way of teaching and doing sustainability.

Kudos to Cameren Cousins and her colleagues at Fenn for taking advantage of what JouleBug has to offer with this contest.  We’d love to see the Fenn School’s contest become a model for others.  If you’re a teacher, administrator, parent, or student at a school and you think JouleBug might make a good addition to your sustainability curriculum or activities, drop us a line.  We can help you get started and give you some ideas about what makes a successful JouleBug contest.  Let us know.  We want to help!