Preparing to Celebrate the 2016 Honorees!

Green Strides Design


          U.S. Department of Education

   Green Strides


Watch the July 20th 2016 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Ceremony Live

U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr., Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews, and Federal Chief Sustainability Officer Christine Harada will honor the 2016 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS), District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees in a private ceremony at 2:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, July 20th in Washington, D.C.  Forty-seven schools, 15 districts, and eleven colleges and universities will be recognized for their commitment to reducing environmental impact and utility costs, promoting better health, and providing environmental education.  The festivities will also recognize a state official for advancing sustainable schools in New Jersey.

ED-GRS has three distinct “Pillars” that are aims for all to work toward.  These broad goals in the areas of school facilities, health, and environmental learning are used to engage more schools in existing federal, non-profit, and state tracking and certification programs that can help all schools save money, improve health, and teach by the most hands-on, engaging means possible.  The complementary Green Strides outreach initiative offers social media, this monthly newsletter, a resource and webinar portal, and a tour to spotlight innovative practices.  In this way, ED-GRS goes beyond standing up a few promising examples or a single annual event, working to connect all schools with the resources and practices that honorees successfully use.

We will share a livestream link for the national recognition event prior to the ceremony.

Representatives from Lincoln Public Schools in Nebraska received their award at the 2015 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Awards Ceremony, June 3, 2015 in Washington, D.C.

Selecting Nominees for U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools 2017  

Are you ready for 2017?!  Most participating states post applications for schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions each summer with deadlines to submit to them each winter.  State authorities’ school, district, and postsecondary nominations are due to ED by February 1, 2017.  ED will announce honorees on April 24, 2017.  In addition to a total of five school and district nominees, each state may nominate one postsecondary institution for leadership in all three Pillars.  State selection committees may include state education agencies, state higher education agencies, governors’ offices, and outside partners. Interested schools, districts, colleges, universities should contact their state education authorities for information on how to be considered for nomination in a given state.  State education authorities can contact U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools for more information.  >>>>

Meet More of the 2016 Honorees!

As schools head off for summer breaks, now is a great time to take inspiration from the 2016 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools for plans in the coming year.  View the honorees and read about their work on Green Strides.

Raritan Valley Community College, North Branch, N.J.

Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) is the first community college in the country to sign an environmental stewardship agreement with the EPA, and the first to run an energy-saving cogeneration plant, which has contributed to an emissions reduction of 51 percent.  The college is the first in New Jersey with an AASHE STARS rating, and with River Friendly certification.  The college’s award-winning service learning program provides many students with the opportunity to perform environmental and health and wellness work in the community.  RVCC has adopted integrated pest management and created no-mow areas and a rain garden.  Rainwater is collected for toilets and garden irrigation, and high-efficiency fixtures and a scheduled, moisture-sensing sprinkler system watering only the athletic fields provide additional conservation measures.  RVCC builds to LEED Silver standards and offers premium parking for carpools and free electricity for electric vehicles.  The college has an optical clinic, gardening programs, and a yoga and meditation room.  The college’s café and cafeteria offer vegan and vegetarian meal options, fair-trade coffee, and locally grown produce.  RVCC offers an Environmental Science Associate of Science degree, a Liberal Arts Associate of Arts degree with an Environmental Studies option (unique in New Jersey), and an Environmental Controls Associate of Science degree and certificate, as well as LEED and solar panel installation professional education.  The environment and sustainability are incorporated into courses in some 15 departments, including English, Marketing, Philosophy, and Sociology.  >>>>

Raritan Valley Comm Coll, NJ
Students at Raritan Valley Community College helped design and build a rain garden at the entrance to the college. The garden improves the quality of and reduces storm water runoff.

Bethel School District, WA

Bethel School District (BSD), serving 18,000 students, has avoided paying an additional $7.2 million dollars in electricity, natural gas, and water, a 28 percent reduction in costs.  Over the last six years, BSD has received $1.2 million in state energy grant money.  All of BSD’s 27 eligible schools are ENERGY STAR certified, with an average score of 93.  In 2012, the school district was recognized with two ENERGY STAR Leader awards.  BSD uses both Portfolio Manager and EnergyCAP software to track resource use.  BSD collaborates with other local government agencies to teach sustainability concepts.  Students participate in collecting, sorting, and weighing material.  They conducted a weeklong analysis of Styrofoam lunch trays, later presenting to the school board how purchasing and washing reusable trays would pay for itself.  BSD’s agricultural program teaches students how to balance green techniques and concerns with actual business practices.  Through the Bethel High School greenhouse, students learn how to run a full-scale commercial greenhouse operation, cumulating in a spring plant sale.  In Students learn to take care of a large campus and are involved in state fish hatchery projects.  Students are able to perform walk-around building audits with the resource conservation manager, who also promotes the green jobs of the future at the annual career fair.  >>>>

Bethel SD, WA
A partnership with a local manufacturing company provides Bethel School District students with free repurposed recycling containers. Since 2009, the school district has avoided paying an additional $285,000 in trash costs. This 20% reduction saved them from sending an additional 2,300 tons of waste to the landfill.

Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School, Atlanta, GA

The Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School (ANCS) is a kindergarten through eighth grade school with two campuses formed by the merger of two charter schools.  ANCS has strived to reduce the environmental impact of the school through facilities and transportation initiatives, with the installation of energy efficient LED lighting, low-flow plumbing fixtures, water bottle filling stations, high performance windows, thermal envelope insulation, and web-based centralized climate control for HVAC units.  These efforts have led to one of the building’s receipt of an ENERGY STAR certification with a score of 100 in 2015, as well as to participation with the City of Atlanta in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge program for sustainable buildings.  ANCS reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 28 percent and energy by 50 percent in just one year.  The school received a Safe Routes to School infrastructure grant to make walking and biking to school easier through community infrastructure improvements, and now oversees walking and biking school buses.  ANCS participates with the Georgia Clean Air Campaign’s schools program to encourage cleaner, healthier forms of transit to and from school, along with no-idling policies.  During the school day, there are regular periods of daily physical activity for students at all grade levels, and mindfulness practices are incorporated into all classrooms.  Students at the middle school campus have planned out entire meals for the school cafeteria using the school farm.  Several grades take a major overnight field trip to different parts of the state, where they take part in an outdoor education program to learn more deeply about environmental issues affecting Atlanta and the region.  >>>>

Atlanta Neighborhood Charter
A student at Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School showcases water bottle refilling and recycling efforts.

Resources and Opportunities


Apply for a GreenWorks! Environmental Education Grant by Sept. 30

Project Learning Tree offers grants up to $1,000 to schools and youth organizations for environmental service-learning projects that link classroom learning to the real world. Students implement an action project they help design to green their school or to improve an aspect of their neighborhood’s environment.  The projects partner students with their whole school, local businesses and/or community organizations, and provide opportunities for student leadership. >>>>


Green Strides Design

The Green Strides Webinar Series Continues This Summer

The Green Strides Webinar Series promotes sessions that provide free tools to reduce schools' environmental impact and costs; improve health and wellness; and teach effective environmental education.  Consult the webinar calendar and submit suggestions of free webinars related to school, district, and postsecondary sustainability to for listing.

July 06, 2016, 12 -12:30 pm  Porfolio Manager—Ask the Expert (EPA)

July 06, 2016, 2:00-3:00 pm  Submetering for Campuses—ENGERY STAR (EPA)

July 06, 2016, 6:30-7:30 pm  Technology Drives Exploration – On the Moon (NASA)

July 07, 2016, 6:30-7:30 pm  Technology Drives Exploration - BEST Satellite (NASA)

July 12, 2016, 1:00-2:00 pm  Incorporating Water Efficiency to your Energy Savings (EPA)

July 12, 2016, 6:30-7:30 pm  Technology Drives Exploration - BEST Rover (NASA)

July 13, 2016, 12 -12:30 pm   Portfolio Manager—Ask the Expert (EPA)

July 14, 2016, 6:00-7:00 pm  Engineering Design 101 (NASA)

July 18, 2016, 6:30-7:30 pm  Engineering Design Challenge (NASA)

July 19, 2016, 1:00-2:00 pm  Portfolio Manager 101 (EPA)

July 20, 2016, 12 -12:30 pm  Portfolio Manager—Ask the Expert (EPA)

July 20, 2016, 1:00-2:00 pm  Portfolio Manager 201 (EPA)

July 21, 2016, 1:00-2:00 pm  Portfolio Manager 301 (EPA)

July 21, 2016, 3:00-4:15 pm  Sustainable Careers in Food and Agriculture (NWF)

July 27, 2016, 12 -12:30 pm  Portfolio Manager—Ask the Expert (EPA)

July 27, 2016, 6:00-7:00 pm Robotics on a Budget (NASA)


The Green Clean Schools Leadership Institute is July 28-29th in Ellicott City, MD

This training will bring together leading university and K-12 facility operators in an effort to grow the green cleaning movement.  It will include hands-on leadership skill training and workshops; expert panels and discussions on how to create a green cleaning program; an in-depth tour of an award-winning program; and the opportunity to network with other leaders in the field.  Some scholarships are available for school representatives.  >>>>

The Cloud Inst

The Cloud Institute Education for Sustainability Summer Design Studio is Aug. 15-19

The Cloud Institute's Annual Summer Design Studio offers structured time, space, coaching and peer reviews for teachers, administrators, and program designers interested in developing units and protocols that educate for sustainability.  >>>>

Green Build logo

Greenbuild 2016 is in Los Angeles, CA Oct. 5-7th

Greenbuild is the world's largest conference and expo dedicated to green building. It features three days of inspiring speakers, invaluable networking opportunities, industry showcases, LEED workshops and tours of the host city's green buildings. With the theme Iconic Green, the 2016 conference celebrates the icons of the movement - those who are working in the trenches today and those who are leading the way into the future.  >>>>

Aashe logo

The 2016 AASHE Conference and Expo is Oct. 9-12 in Baltimore, MD

The AASHE Conference & Expo brings together some 2,000 campus administrators, sustainability staff, students, faculty, businesses, media and others to explore more than 400 educational sessions, workshops, tours and keynote addresses that advance sustainability in higher education.  This year's theme, Beyond the Campus, explores the dissemination and implementation of sustainability solutions in surrounding communities and the world. >>>>

Naaee logo

The North American Association for Environmental Education Conference is Oct 19-22

For more than four decades, NAAEE has convened one of the leading annual conferences for environmental education professionals, from classroom teachers and teacher educators to nature center staff to climate science researchers and everyone in between. Averaging 1,000 participants each year, the event is designed to promote innovation, networking, learning, and dissemination of best practices.  This year’s conference, with the theme From Inspiration to Impact, is in Madison, WI. >>>>


EDSpaces is Nov. 2-4 in Cincinnati, OH

EDspaces is the gathering place for architects, facility planners, designers, administrators and dealers to learn about trends and experience the latest products and services to enhance student learning.  >>>>

Connect with Green Strides

Green Strides: Resources for School Facilities, Health, and Environment
U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools
Facebook: @EDGreenRibbonSchools
Twitter: @EDGreenRibbon
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