Posted on April 22, 2013

Volunteers Give Science Lesson in Paso Robles, Clean Up a High School in San Francisco

From a school science project in San Luis Obispo County to cleaning up a high school in San Francisco, PG&E’s first-ever Month of Service continues to benefit communities throughout Northern and Central California.

PG&E volunteers joined others in helping to teach about the Earth’s atmosphere by releasing balloons in Paso Robles. (Photo by John Lindsey.)

On Saturday (April 20) in Paso Robles, giant white balloons filled the sky as high school students launched helium-filled, tethered balloons as part of an experiment to learn about the earth’s atmosphere.

The event was the Endeavor Institute’s Balloon Fest and PG&E employees Walt Reil and Heather Lewis – who both work at Diablo Canyon Power Plant — were among the mentors who worked closely with the students on their projects. The event is designed to help further the school’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education.

The balloons contained student-designed instrumentation to measure different characteristics of the earth’s atmosphere or to test alternative engineering designs. The balloons are similar to those launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base every morning with a small transmitter called a radiosonde. The latex balloons expand and freeze when they get high enough, and then rupture into little paper-like before falling back to earth.

“Students design, test and validate their experiments. They acquire data, analyze and then present their results to peers, parents and scientists. This is truly science in action,” said Reil, a senior business analyst at Diablo Canyon Power Plant, one of five PG&E volunteers at the event.

More than 100 PG&E volunteers helped create a new mural for the high school.

In San Francisco on Friday (April 19), more than 100 PG&E volunteers went back to school. But instead of reading, writing and arithmetic, it was painting weeding and cleaning.

As part of PG&E’s Month of Service – dozens of volunteer projects throughout the company’s service area in April – 110 PG&E employees spruced up Mission High School today. Five PG&E officers, including Kent Harvey, Jason Wells, Deborah Affonsa. Ezra Garrett and Stephen Cairns, were among those lifting paintbrushes and rakes.

They painted a vibrant new wall mural near the basketball courts; removed invasive plants and gardened in the courtyard; painted offices at the wellness center; and cleaned and organized a classroom kitchen.

PG&E also granted Mission High School $10,000 to further develop other projects and improvements around the school.

PG&E Month of Service includes about 180 volunteer events in April throughout Northern and Central California. By month’s end, about 2,800 employees, friends and family will have participated.

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