Senator King Honors King Middle School Students for Commitment to Healthy Air

Senator Flies Kites with Seventh Graders to Test Air Quality

(October 24, 2013)

(PORTLAND) Maine Senator Angus King visited the seventh grade class of Portland’s King Middle School on Thursday and presented them with the American Lung Association’s “Healthy Air Leadership Award”.  The award honors the students for their efforts last spring to raise public awareness about the dangers of air pollution.  After receiving the award the students and Senator King gathered on the school’s ball field to recreate kite-flying experiments that test the air for particle pollution.

KMS with Senator King"It was a privilege to present Mrs. MacLean and her talented students at King Middle School with the American Lung Association's prestigious Healthy Air Leadership Award today," Senator King said. "Their hard work in studying air pollution along with their effort to educate lawmakers and community leaders about its detrimental impact on Maine are both inspiring and impressive, and demonstrate an exemplary commitment to helping build a better, healthier future for our great state."

As part of King Middle School’s award-winning interdisciplinary learning program, eighty five students spent the 2013 spring semester studying the causes and health impacts of air pollution, including how scientists monitor the air and how everyone can help improve air quality.  Now in seventh grade, the students conducted a variety of air quality science experiments, which they discussed with the Senatoron Thursday.

As part of their studies, the students also designed and produced informational pamphlets, postcards, and a video that they distributed to community members. Their “Oceans of Air” project culminated in a day at the Maine State House, where the students shared their research and findings with legislators.

“The Lung Association is so proud of these young scientists,” said Matt Sturgis, Leadership Board Chair for the American Lung Association in Maine. “They have studied the impacts of air pollution on our health and on our planet, and they have worked hard to educate the community and lawmakers on the importance of cleaning up the smokestacks and tailpipes that put Maine’s air quality at risk.  Their commitment and leadership will serve us all well in the years to come.”

Air pollution is considered dangerous for everyone, but a particular risk for children, the elderly, and people with chronic diseases, including the more than 22,000 Maine children and 92,000 adults with asthma and other lung diseases who may require expensive medical care on unhealthy air days.