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Establishing community education and awareness on indoor air quality: CO2 monitor library lending program

Madison, Alabama

Featured image for the project, Establishing community education and awareness on indoor air quality: CO2 monitor library lending program

Image by WOKANDAPIX from Pixabay.

School indoor air quality for K-12 students has been an under-appreciated issue in US schools that was illuminated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Residents of any given state are unaware of how under-ventilated their classrooms are, and studies performed elsewhere may miss the mark by seeming too abstract and distant to local parents. There is no literature in Alabama specifically to tie under-ventilation, illness, and absenteeism together. In the past, chronic absenteeism for K-12 students was consistently couched as an opaque problem with no mention of the role of illness. However, there have been related studies elsewhere that suggest that schools can expect to address a significant proportion of absenteeism by reducing the spread of illness in classrooms. Thus, this project aims to establish community lending programs for CO2 monitors in Madison, AL by collaborating with the Madison City Library system.  We envision that the outcomes of this project push the parents and teachers to demand diligence regarding school air quality.


About the Community

Indoor Air Care Advocates (IACA) is a group of concerned parents who have worked extensively in advocating for indoor air quality in Madison, AL. We currently have 75 members in Alabama. We have also worked with many individuals and organizations within and outside Alabama, including the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Alabama Asthma Coalition, AARP, American Health Care Association (AHCA/NCAL), and Arizona State University.

We have had opportunities to bring this issue up to policymakers by giving presentations to the Madison City and County Schools system and writing letters to the Alabama State Department of Education, Alabama Department of Public Health, and our Members of Congress.


About the Project

The community would like to establish a community lending program for CO2 monitors to parents, guardians, and teachers to equip them with data and evidence and raise awareness for indoor air quality issues. This will be done by procuring CO2  monitors, working with local libraries to create kiosks, lending kits, and raising awareness among parents by organizing presentations and local forums. 


  • Establish a learning kiosk in the Madison City main library
  • Deploy CO2 monitors and interactive displays in this kiosk
  • Advertise the presence of the kiosk
  • Host community forums, meetings and lectures in the libraries and host indoor air quality scientists and experts (kick-off activity in the Madison Library main kiosk)


  • IACA members
  • Madison City Library 
    • 10 branches but monitors will be kept at main Madison location only 
  • Library administrators
  • Volunteer scientist(s)
  • Indoor air quality expert(s)


  • CO2 monitors available for lending via the Madison City library
  • Lectures and forums on indoor air quality awareness
  • Reports and one-pagers to share with parents and the general public



  • Spark general awareness and citizen action, especially for parents and teachers, towards better indoor air quality especially in classrooms


  • More parents and community members will understand the effect of indoor air quality on their children’s performance, and be more vocal and active in expressing concerns about indoor air quality

Timeline and Milestones


Month 1 = December 2023


Activity 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
CO2 monitors procurement

(Library – 10; IACA – 5)

Procurement of other items, including but not limited to:

  • iPad/screen for the library kiosk
  • development of print materials (brochures, etc)
Formalization of agreements with Madison City Library

  • finalization of schedule
Check-in with ASU SciStarter program
Volunteer recruitment
Materials deployment to libraries

  • review plans with Madison City Library
Active campaigns (presentations, community forums, advertisement dissemination) at the different libraries and virtually


Project Team

Community Leads

Michael Bailey is a Co-Founder of Indoor Air Care Advocates and a father of three. Using his background as a malware reverse engineer, he adopts a “research Dad” method, simplifying complex data to engage stakeholders. Additionally, Michael serves on  the Pew Charitable Trusts advisory committee, focusing on improving indoor air quality in US  K-12 schools.

Tara Bailey is a devoted mother of three and passionate advocate focused on enhancing indoor air quality in K-12 schools as a Co-Founder of Indoor Air Care Advocates. She also works to promote government transparency and civic engagement initiatives, striving for healthier educational environments and empowered communities.

Jennifer Yarbrough is a Co-Founder of Indoor Air Care Advocates and a passionate advocate for clean air in schools and public spaces. She is a loving mother of three with a background in advertising, marketing, and academic administration support. Dedicated to elevating indoor air quality standards in US K-12 schools, she applies her expertise in marketing to drive impactful change and healthier learning environments nationwide.


Community Science Fellow

Dr. Colleen Rosales is a Thriving Earth Exchange Community Fellow and serves as the Project Manager for this project. She has a background in indoor and atmospheric air pollution research and is the Strategic Partnerships Director for the nonprofit organization OpenAQ, which fights air inequality by providing universal and open access to air quality data worldwide.

Scientist Wanted

We are currently looking for one senior volunteer scientist and one to two student scientists.

Senior scientist roles:

  • Present on indoor air quality and its effects on health and cognition
  • Address questions during presentations and community forum
  • Recommend practical solutions for implementation of improved indoor air quality
  • Serve as mentor for the general direction of IACA

Student scientist roles:

  • Assistance with analysis and visualization of data from CO2 monitors
  • Creation of one-pagers for dissemination
  • Recommend practical solutions for implementation of improved indoor air quality
  • Assistance in coordination of presentations and community forums
  • Consultation for other related projects by IACA (e.g., curriculum development)
  • Recommend experts for indoor air presentations to the libraries

Desired Skills and Qualifications:

  • Experience in indoor air quality 
  • Experience with citizen science
  • Experience and/or desire to participate in community education, outreach, and engagement
  • Desire to participate in-person public comments (e.g., Board of Education meetings)
  • Strong listening and collaboration skills
  • Flexibility and willingness to work around timeline delays 
  • Willingness to connect science to local concerns
  • Relaxed, easy-going personality with a good sense of humor
  • Alabama residents strongly desired; remote engagement will be considered on a case-to-case basis


Senior scientist:

  • With an MS or Ph.D. and more than 5 years of professional experience in indoor air quality, industrial hygiene, occupational exposures, or related fields


Student scientists:

  • Senior undergraduate student or graduate-level student with an Engineering or Science major
  • Knowledge in social and digital media asset creation and management
  • Knowledge of event organization, including planning and marketing


Thriving Earth Exchange asks all scientific partners to work with the community to help define a project with concrete local impact to which they can contribute as pro-bono volunteers and collaborators. This work can also position the scientists and communities to seek additional funding, together, for the next stage.


Interested in volunteering as a scientist? Apply now!


For questions, email Colleen Rosales, [email protected] 


More information about the AGU Thriving Earth Exchange program: