The 2014 Honorees are Coming….

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          U.S. Department of Education

   Green Strides

The 2014 Honorees are Coming….

In the News


Mark Your Calendars! The 2014 Honorees are Coming...

ED-GRS is a flurry of activity as some 60 reviewers from five federal agencies read nomination packages submitted by 30 states. Among the nominees this year are public, private, charter and magnet nominees, early learning through high school nominees, and district nominees. On Earth Day, April 22nd, at 2 pm EDT, the Department will announce the honorees live here, notify honorees via email, release the third annual Highlights of the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Honorees, and post all honorees’ nomination packages online. The unveiling of the 2014 honorees will be accompanied by another special announcement. Don’t miss it! >>> 



Center for Green Schools Releases National Action Plan for Educating for Sustainability

The Center for Green Schools at the US Green Building Council launched the National Action Plan for Educating for Sustainability. The Plan brings together the leading minds on environmental education, committing to a series of actions to ensure that, by 2040, every student graduating from a U.S. PK-12 school will be equipped to shape a more sustainable future.  The report looks at such key areas as teacher preparation, curriculum, professional development, student assessment, education leadership, policy and research to provide a concrete action plan for how Education for Sustainability can be used to provide higher quality education for all.  >>>



Asthma Awareness Month

May is Asthma Awareness Month. School-based asthma programs can help children learn more about asthma through fun activities. Children can sing along with the Breathe Easies, play games in the Dusty the Goldfish Funbook, or learn about air quality in the book Why is Coco Orange?, all while learning how to better control their asthma. The Asthma Community Network can help you plan and promote effective events in your community—check out the Event Planning Kit, Calendar, Programs Map, videos, podcasts and webinars—to learn about successful strategies for improving asthma management in schools. >>> 


NEEF Launches ‘Take a Second’ Campaign to Raise Awareness of Everyday Stewardship

The National Environmental Education Foundation has begun its Take a Second campaign, an opportunity for the public to learn about the environment and how simple everyday environmental actions add up to a huge impact.  Learn how a few seconds add up to a huge impact, and share how you are taking a few seconds for the environment to inspire others. >>>



World Water Day is March 22nd and Focuses on Water – And Energy!

This year, World Water Day is about what you will do in 2014 and beyond to promote sustainable practices in the realm of water and energy.  Water and energy are interdependent. Energy generation and transmission requires utilization of water resources, particularly for hydroelectric, nuclear, and thermal energy sources. Conversely, about 8 percent of the global energy generation is used for pumping, treating and transporting water to various consumers. >>>


World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour is March 29th

Earth Hour is a worldwide grassroots movement uniting people to protect the planet, and is organized by the World Wildlife Fund. Engaging a massive mainstream community on a broad range of environmental issues, Earth Hour was famously started as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia in 2007.  Since then it has grown to engage more than 7000 cities and towns worldwide, and the one-hour event continues to remain the key driver of the now larger movement.  Join millions of people across the world who will switch lights off for an hour on March 29th at 8:30 pm - to raise awareness for the planet. >>>



Global Youth Service Day is April 11-13th

Global Youth Service Day celebrates and mobilizes the millions of young people who improve their communities each day of the year through service.  Established in 1988, Global Youth Service Day is the largest service event in the world, and the only day of service dedicated to children and youth.  You may wish to invite influential community members such as business leaders, public officials, teachers and administrators, VIPs and local celebrities to your event.  Community leaders can help increase awareness of your project and the issues you care about. They can also help create policy change and gain funding for your project. >>> 



National Healthy Schools Day is April 8th

The 12th Annual National Healthy Schools Day is on April 8th.  National Healthy Schools Day is an opportunity for local school community members, state- and national-level organizations, and other committed stakeholders to raise awareness of the critical role that healthy school environments play in children’s health and academic success.  It is also an ideal time to showcase the initiatives that schools have undertaken to improve the quality of learning environments and to launch new or expand existing indoor air quality management programs. >>> 


Funding Opportunities

Applications for School Grants for Healthy Kids due May 2nd  

Action for Healthy Kids has released its School Grants for Healthy Kids opportunities for the 2014-2015 school year.  Around 1,000 schools will be awarded funds ranging from $500 to $5,000 to support school breakfast and physical activity programs.  Funded schools will also receive expertise and people power to help implement a successful project that leads to sustainable change.  Award amounts will be based on building enrollment, project type, potential impact, and a school’s ability to mobilize parents and students around school wellness initiatives. The deadline to apply is May 2nd. >>> 


Farm to School Grant Applications Due April 30th

The purpose of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program is to assist districts and other eligible entities in implementing farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools.  On an annual basis, USDA awards up to $5 million in competitive grants for training, supporting operations, planning, purchasing equipment, developing school gardens, developing partnerships, and implementing farm to school programs.  This round, USDA will make an additional $500,000 available to eligible entities to support conferences, trainings, and events focused on farm to school program development.  Applications are due April 30th >>> 



EPA Reducing Public Exposure to Indoor Pollutants Proposals due April 21st  

EPA’s Indoor Environments Division has released a request for applications for demonstration, training, outreach and/or education cooperative agreements that will have a national scale impact to reduce exposure to indoor air contaminants and yield measurable environmental outcomes.  Applications must articulate a plan to produce results that have implications and/or benefits on a national level in radon, indoor environmental asthma triggers, or multiple indoor air quality contaminants.   The total estimated funding for this competitive opportunity is approximately $2 million to $4 million annually, for up to three years.  EPA anticipates awarding between 10 to 20 cooperative agreements, subject to availability of funds, the quality of proposals received, and other applicable considerations. >>>  



Transportation Grants Include Focus on Connecting Communities to Education

The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER Discretionary Grant, provides allows the Department of Transportation to invest in road, rail, transit and port projects that promise to achieve critical national objectives.  The 6th round of TIGER will be a $600 million program, with applications due on April 28th.  This year the program will focus on connecting communities to jobs, education, and services, especially in economically distressed areas.  Grantees will have until 2016 to obligate funds, so DOT is encouraging applicants to submit more complex, multimodal projects for consideration. >>> 



ED’s Green Strides Webinar Series continues with the tools to reduce schools’ environmental impact and costs; improve health and wellness; and teach effective environmental literacy, including STEM, green careers, and civic engagement. Find sessions for educators, facilities managers, and advocates weekly offered by a variety of federal and non-profit collaborators.   

Apr.    3, 2014, 2:00-3:00 p.m. Keep Schools Involved in Summer Meals (USDA)
Apr.    9, 2014, 2:00-3:00 p.m. Summer Meals Site- Talk of the Town (USDA)
Apr.    9, 2014, 4:00-5:00 p.m.  Global Cultures & Communities (Rainforest Alliance)
Apr.    9, 2014, 6:30-7:30 p.m.  Basics of Telescopes and NASA Missions (NASA)
Apr.    9, 2014, 7:00-8:00 p.m.  Grand Green challenges for Engineering (NEEF)
Apr.  14, 2014, 5:30-7:00 p.m.  Newton’s Laws (NASA)
May  14, 2014, 4:00-5:00 p.m.  Rainforest Alliance Curriculum (Rainforest Alliance)
May  14, 2014, 4:00-5:00 p.m.  Effective Climate Change Communication (NPS)



Reducing Pest and Pesticide Exposure

Many schools are stuck on a “treadmill” of never-ending pesticide applications, without addressing the underlying issues that make schools attractive to pests.  If we can make it so pests aren’t attracted in the first place, the need for pesticides in schools would be greatly reduced.  On March 12th, the U.S. EPA announced three grants have been awarded to help reduce student’s exposure to pests and pesticides in the nation’s schools, while saving money, energy and pesticide treatment costs. Read more about the three grantees’ work here. >>> 

The American Chemical Society Offers Energy Foundations for High School Chemistry

Energy Foundations for High School Chemistry is a free collection of teaching resources which can be used to teach the big ideas about energy in the high school chemistry classroom. Developed by high school teachers and the American Chemical Society, the exercises, lab investigations, videos and demos focus on the fundamentals of chemical, mechanical, nuclear and gravitational energy. >>> 


Captain Planet Learning Gardens Encourage Educators to Use the Outdoors

The Captain Planet Learning Gardens Program encourages educators to consider the school garden as an extension of the traditional classroom rather than an extracurricular activity.  All Learning Garden lessons are tied to state standards of learning, encourage inquiry-based learning, provide hands-on experiential learning, and guide the teacher toward new science standards. >>> 




The First Lady Challenges Kids to Devise Healthy Lunch Recipes

The First Lady is again challenging America’s junior chefs to put their talents to use whipping up delicious lunches.  The third Healthy Lunchtime Challenge and Kids’ State Dinner invites children, ages 8-12, and their parents or guardians to create and submit an original lunch recipe that is healthy, affordable, and tasty.  Recipes must represent each of the food groups, with fruits and vegetables making up roughly half of the plate or recipe.  Fifty-six children and their parent or guardian -- one pair from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and U.S. territories -- will be flown to Washington, D.C., to attend a Kids’ State Dinner at the White House, during which a selection of the winning recipes will be served.  Recipes may be submitted online through April 5th. >>>


The EPA Offers a Food Recovery Challenge

The Food Recovery Challenge is a part of the EPA's Sustainable Materials Management Program.  Participants are challenged to reduce as much of their food waste as possible through prevention, donation, recycling and composting.  The program not only helps the environment but helps participating organizations save money as well by improving their bottom line. Any organization can participate. >>> 


Nominate Inspiring Teens for the TEEN Nick Halo Awards

Do you know any inspiring teens who are making a huge impact in their communities?  Teens who are leading others to join their movement and take action on causes that are important to them? Teens with unique, powerful stories who took their personal experiences and, through service, made it meaningful on a bigger level--a level that really made a difference? TEEN Nick would love to shine the HALO spotlight on them! >>>




EECapacity Offers the Community Climate Change Fellowship for Educators

The 2014 Community Climate Change Fellowship is a pilot initiative sponsored by EECapacity, with generous support from EPA.  It is open to educators who want to address climate change issues in their communities through innovative education and engagement. The fellowship will promote leadership and networking, as well as creative strategies for reaching new and under-represented audiences. Fellows will meet their colleagues at a five-day professional development workshop, take part in special webinars, and attend the 2014 NAAEE International Conference in Ottawa, Canada. Learning opportunities during the fellowship will focus on leadership, fundraising, evaluation, climate change, and community engagement. >>> 


Center for Green Schools Offers School Sustainability Leader Summit June 25-27

Apply for an opportunity to join the nation’s leaders in system-wide school sustainability to share strategies for improving the health, safety, and efficiency of the nation’s schools and districts. The fourth annual Summit, hosted by the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council, is the only convening in the country specifically for staff at school districts and independent schools that is responsible for system-wide environmental sustainability strategy and initiatives. >>> 


Research and Reports 


The Condition of America’s Public School Facilities

A new report from the National Center for Education Statistics, provides national data on public school facilities, such as the condition of 17 types of building systems and features, the condition of seven outdoor features, the estimated cost of repairs, renovations and modernizations required to put the school’s on-site buildings in good condition, the year the school’s central instructional building was constructed and last renovated, and the year of the school’s last major building replacement or addition. >>> 

(Pictured left: Redding School of the Arts II, a 2013 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School, is a shining example of modern, educationally exceptional school facilities in good condition.)

School Green Cleaning Gets Attention in CDC Report

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2012 School Health Policies and Practices Study now includes a chapter on the physical school environment—specifically discussing green cleaning—for the first time ever.  Since the report is conducted regularly, it will be an excellent resource to benchmark progress across the nation toward greener, healthier school environments.  Ready to reboot your green cleaning program, or implement one for the first time? Check out the Healthy Schools Campaign’s Quick + Easy Guide to Green Cleaning in Schools. >>> 

What Scientists Know: The Reality, Risks and Response to Climate Change

A new report by the American Association for the Advancement of Science aims to clarify several scientific community-generated, consensus-based messages for the American public about climate change.  It says: 1) Climate scientists agree that climate change is happening here and now; 2) We are at risk of pushing our climate system toward abrupt, unpredictable, and potentially irreversible changes with highly damaging impacts; and 3) The sooner we act, the lower the risk and cost. And there is much we can do. >>> 


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Twitter: @EDGreenRibbon
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