​​​​​​​​An anti-idling campaign created and implemented by 4th and 5th grade students ​​​at the Center for Creative Learning in the Rockwood School District.                   ​    ​Although students are no longer actively involved in their campaign, their work continues through the many who have heard their message. 


We Are Spreading Our Message
Explore these media resources about student efforts.

Rockwood Board of Education votes to adopt Anti-Idling Policy submitted by Ozone students!  Read more...

Congratulations to ALL Ozone students of the 2011-2012/2012-2013 classes.  They are the reciptients of the
EPA's Region 7 Presidential Environmental Youth Award!

Students to earn recognition for vehicle-idling program 

Cutting Emissions Accomplished:  Anti-idling campaign shows results at Rockwood school

Rockwood students promote districtwide anti-idling policy

Anti-Idling Policy Posed by Rockwood Elementary Students


 Common Myths About Idling

Myth- Your car engine should be warmed up before driving. 

Truth- Idling is not an effective way to warm up your vehicle, even in the cold weather.  The best way to heat up your car is to drive around for a bit.  With today’s modern engines, you need no more than 30 seconds of idling on winter days.

Myth- Idling is a good thing for your engine.

Truth- Excessive idling can actually damage your engine components, including cylinders, spark plugs, and exhaust systems. 

Myth- All ozone is good.

Truth- True, the stratospheric ozone is good, but ground-level ozone is bad for a person's health.  Ground-level ozone is a form of air pollution and is harmful to the environment and human health. 

Myth- It is more harmful to your engine if you turn off the engine and start it again instead of idling. 

Truth- It is actually less harmful to your engine if you turn it off, instead of idling for all of that time.




Over Ten, Start Again!


The TRUTH about the law:  many cities, counties and states have regulations or ordinances about idling.  This is the St. Louis County ordinance:

 612.340 - Air Pollution Nuisances Prohibited.—

1. It is unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to permit or cause the escape of such quantities of soot, cinders, noxious acids, fumes and gases or other particulate matter from whatever source in such place or manner as to be detrimental to any person or to the public or to endanger the health, comfort and safety of any such person or the public, or in such manner as to cause or have a tendency to cause injury or damage to property or business. The escape of such matter is declared to be a public nuisance. Each day wherein a violation of this section occurs shall constitute a separate offense.

2. No person shall cause or permit the engine of a motor vehicle, other than an emergency vehicle, to idle for longer than three (3) consecutive minutes while parking, standing or stopped as defined in the St. Louis County Traffic Code, unless the engine is being used to operate a loading, unloading or processing device.  

(O. No. 4365, 6-19-67)
Source:  http://www.stlouisco.com/

Our Action4Air Story


It all began with a visit from the director of the American Lung Association and the St. Louis Regional Clean Air Partnership.  She invited us to help solve the problem of idling.  We made an anti-idling program called “Action4Air." Tali, a fourth grader, came up with the name to recognize the students' efforts to promote real "action" to help clean the air.  The 4 in the name represents all the fourth graders enrolled in the first campaign class as well as all future ozone students.  

After determining a name, students created a mission statement:  We will create and implement an anti-idling campaign to improve the air quality in the St. Louis metropolitan area for today and future generations.  We divided into groups to help advertise and tell the world about our project and its importance.

The Signage groups studied the whole idling problem at the CCL and made proposals for placement of permanent anti-idling signs in the parking lot. The proposals included justification for permanent signs, location and design, and CCL idling data.

The Design groups first studied toolkits from other campaigns around the country. Students believed it was pretty important for us to also pass our experience to others just like previous campaigns had helped us.  Design group students gathered idling information and shared our Action4Air campaign strategies in different kinds of media to reach a variety of target audiences--like this webpage. This documentation of our campaign will also support future ozone students as they continue to build onto the first campaign:  PowerPoint 1; PowerPoint 2; Video.

The Message groups identified a specific target audience within the CCL community to distribute the anti-idling message. They also determined the purpose of their message to best suit the selected audience and implemented their planned message.  A flyer was placed in the Gifted Program's newsletter.  Bus drivers that served the program also received a thank you flyer that was posted inside each bus.

The Student Dismissal groups identified the problems with the Parent Pick-up Procedure as it related to idling. They developed solutions and either proposed a change to the procedure and/or implemented an action plan to improve the procedure to decrease idling.  The following graph shows the impact of our efforts.  Idling overall decreased by 15%.  Hooray!  This is good.  However, there is still work to be done.

Our goal is not only to decrease idling further at our school, but to raise awareness all across the county and St. Louis city.  We hope many businesses and school districts will help in our efforts.  Recent efforts by students include:  completing research about anti-idling policies and/or procedures across the country, writing a proposal for a district anti-idling policy, (We'll upload a copy soon!), writing a grant application to become a Global Ozone Project School (GO3) and contribute to the only global ozone database, and initiating a letter campaign asking local businesses to partner in our efforts to improve the St. Louis air through an anti-idling initiative.  We'll have flyers and pledge cards uploaded soon!)

We hope you join in our effort!  Let us know what you do to help the air by writing or emailing us!


The Idling Problem at our Center........

Action4Air began with gathering data about our idling problem  at our school.  This graph shows how much idling occurs with our dismissal parent pick-up line.  Visit our sight during the 2012-13 school year to see how we have decreased idling!


What is ozone?

Ozone is a gas that is made up of three atoms of oxygen. It is in the ozone layer, which is located in the stratosphere (one of Earth’s layers above the one we live in). The ozone layer helps protect the earth from the sun’s harmful rays.  Ozone also exists in the troposphere.  This is the layer in which we live and breathe. This ground-level ozone is harmful; therefore, it is considered an air pollutant. Ozone has a negative effect on lung development and plant growth.  Some people are very sensitive to ground-level ozone, such as people with asthma. It can cause asthma attacks because ozone can be an asthma trigger.  To help remember the difference between the stratospheric ozone and ground level ozone, think about this catchy phrase:  Good Up High, But Bad Nearby.  To learn more about ozone, visit the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency and our Ozone web page.

How does idling relate to ozone?

Air is affected by the ozone production from idling. Idling creates the precursors of ozone, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrous oxides (NOx’s). These precursors are pollutants themselves.  When in the presence of sunlight/heat, they undergo a chemical reaction making ozone.  This ground-level ozone is harmful to human health and the environment.

   How can you help?

1. When wait time is expected to be greater than 10 seconds, turn off engine.  When starting vehicle, idle for 30 seconds and then drive.  Cars warm up better when in drive...and the destination gets closer!  This is the 10-30 Rule.

3. Use public transportation when possible, such as the Metro Buses or the MetroLink.

4. Carpool

5.  Link trips together

6. Inform others on the information you have learned.

7. Begin your own campaign!


Other ways to help the air................


1. Fill the gas tank during cool parts of the day.

2. Mow the lawn during the cool parts of the day.

3.  Use VOC-free products

4. Reduce and Reuse.  Recycling is good, but the first two R's are best.

5.  Visit the St. Louis Regional Clean Air Partnership website for lots more ideas.


Like Games?  So do we! 
Here are some on-line, clean air games to play!




Keep Your Idling Snappy


Keep the Air Happy! 


This page was created by CCL ozone students:  Hannah, Abby, Jaden and Peluwa. 
All content approved for publication May 14, 2011.

Updated by Brandon, Bennie, and Ethan, December 12, 2011

Updated November 29, 2012