ICYMI...U.S. Department of Education Honors Two Florida Schools for Their Commitment to the Environment

DEP Press Release header


CONTACT: DEP Press Office, 850.245.2112, DEPNews@dep.state.fl.us

ICYMI...U.S. Department of Education Honors Two Florida Schools for Their Commitment to the Environment

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The U.S. Department of Education has recognized MAST Academy in Miami-Dade County and FAU Lab School District in Palm Beach County for their promising school sustainability practices. 

Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said, “We have a responsibility to instill in future generations a deep commitment to protecting our precious natural resources. I applaud MAST Academy and FAU Lab School District for implementing policies and initiatives that ensure students understand the role we each play in maintaining a healthy environment for future generations.”

These two schools are among only 35 nationwide that were honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs; improve health and wellness; and ensure effective sustainability education. 

Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein said, “Florida has a rich history and economy that is fundamentally linked to our state’s environmental treasures. To ensure our state remains the best place in the world to live and to visit, we must prepare today’s students to be good stewards to our water, land and air. It is exciting to see two Florida schools in the national spotlight for their dedication to sustaining and enhancing Florida’s natural resources.”

MAST Academy offers rigorous classroom courses and internship opportunities with environmental scientists and nationally prominent science institutions. MAST Academy also provides health and wellness enrichment for students and teachers through physical education, free participation in outward bound for 14 teachers and students, nutrition programs, mindfulness clubs, onsite counselors and peer mental health mentoring. Since 2017, the school has also focused on becoming the first net zero energy and zero waste school in Florida.

FAU Lab School District emphasizes being cognizant of the greater world around them with a focus on creating a learning environment that reflects, encourages and enhances their outlook and outreach toward global citizenship. In addition to participating in the Million Orchid growing project to restore Florida native orchids, FAU students conduct university-level field research on a variety of subjects including studies on cancer cells, Bachman’s sparrows, mangrove restoration, ocean currents, geological effects of beach nourishment, carbon sequestration, alternative energy, invasive exotic species, and soft robotics to remove ocean debris.

Florida has participated in the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon program since its inception in 2012. Since then, Florida has had 15 schools and six districts recognized.

The U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon program revolves around three “Pillars,” which consist of 1) environmental impact and energy efficiency, 2) healthy school environments and 3) environmental and sustainability education. The two Florida awardees have shown significant progress in achieving the goals of the three pillars.

For more information about the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon program visit Green Ribbon Schools.

For more information about the Florida Department of Education, visit www.fldoe.org.