For the Spring 2022 Sustainability Blitz, Climate Corps Fellows teamed with Art instructor Teresa Cunniff to give an inspiring presentation on Sustainable Urban Design to the students of Art 401, Three-Dimensional Design. After the presentation, students collaborated to create bio-receptive, modular blocks as they learned to use tools and equipment in the Sculpture Studio.

In this project, Art 401 students learned the safe and proper use of the band saw, the drill press, and various hand tools to make the wooden molds used to cast the bio-receptive blocks. Living Blocks is an open-source recipe designed by Lawrence Parent to produce blocks that can support plant and insect life. The blocks were made from hypertufa, a lightweight, porous material made from cement, sawdust and perlite. The voids in the blocks were made by placing expired fruits and vegetables in the molds. The liquid hypertufa was poured around the organic material. Once the hypertufa was set, the fruits and vegetables were dug out to make room for succulents and other plants harvested from the class members’ gardens.

Surplus fruits and vegetables were donated by Skyline’s SparkPoint Food Pantry. After installing the blocks, the class visited the SparkPoint office, located in Building 1, Room 1-214 to learn about services available to students year-round including Financial Coaching, Housing Resources, and Food Programs.

The Sustainability Blitz is a project created through the partnership between Skyline College and Strategic Energy Innovations’ program Climate Corps. The fellows of the Climate Corps program, working in a variety of sustainability sectors across the Bay area, Southern California, Oregon, and Washington, team up with Skyline faculty to deliver a unique lesson. Students get the opportunity to engage in sustainability, climate change, and climate justice related topics within the course subjects they are currently studying. The Climate Corps program is an early career opportunity for recent graduates to gain experience working in sustainability over the course of 10 months.

A big shout out to SparkPoint staffers Chad Thompson, Raul Amaya, Flor López and Kevin Eifler. Many thanks to Climate Corps Fellows Naima Sudjian-Carlisle, Alexandra Shaw, Allison Solis, and to Sustainability Coordinator Landon Smith. We couldn’t have completed the project without their help!


Article by Teresa Cunniff | Video by Christian Panalagao | Photos by Dr. Nicole Porter, Teresa Cunniff, Naima Sudjian-Carlisle and Justin Garcia

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