Last Chance to Apply to Your State for 2017 ED-GRS Nominations

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          U.S. Department of Education

   Green Strides

In the News


2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Application Deadlines Near

Most participating state education authorities have December submission deadlines for 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS), with some falling in November or early January.  Interested colleges and universities should contact state higher education authorities, while schools and districts should contact state education agencies.  Schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions are only eligible if nominated by state authorities.  State education authorities’ participation is voluntary.  Hearing from interested applicants may be helpful to those states considering participation.  State education authorities can find criteria and other state implementation guidance on the ED website and should contact U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools for more information. Now is also a good time to begin preparing for next year’s application by using resources and programs on Green Strides and to contact your state education authorities if they do not make nominations. Read some common misconceptions dispelled in a blog by the director and review Frequently Asked Questions on all three award categories here. >>>>

More Peer-Reviewed Research About ED-GRS Honorees Published

The latest of four peer-reviewed articles, “Greener on the Other Side: Cultivating Community and Improvement through Sustainability Practices,” by William Sterrett, Lisa Kensler, and Tania McKey is now available in the Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership.  >>>>

Learn from the 2016 Honorees

Want to make some sustainable improvements on your school? Take inspiration from the 2016 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees and learn more about their work on Green Strides.

Lakota Middle School garden bounty

Lakota Middle School, Federal Way, Washington

Lakota Middle School, which celebrated over 50 years of excellence in educating students in the Federal Way community, rededicated a new building in 2010 with a construction modernized to Washington Sustainable Schools Protocol, including criteria related to site, water, materials, energy, indoor environmental quality, planning, and operations.  The building is adjacent to an extensive wetland, and includes photovoltaic roof panels used to educate students about solar energy.  During the 2011-2012 school year, a group of students voiced interest in creating a school within a school that advocated for environmental sustainability, a community garden, and stewardship.  The district incorporated this student vision into the Integrated Environmental Sustainability (IES) Academy.  The academy provides students with opportunities to construct their own understandings with clear awareness of, and concerns about, economic, social, and ecological interdependence in their communities through direct experiences in hands-on learning in a highly engaging place- and service-based environment.  Students learn all core subjects by solving real-world problems through interdisciplinary, project-based sustainability learning with a service component.  They design potential solutions to issues such as water and energy use, resource conservation, climate change, clean air, sustainable food and product design, all while seeking to maximize the health of their community, social equity, and a sustainable economy.  

Granton School District Water Education

Granton Area School District, Wisconsin

Located in rural central Wisconsin, the Granton Area School District upgraded lighting, replaced high-demand appliances, and expanded technology to increase energy efficiency.  Energy conservation and sustainable behaviors are a part of the whole school’s culture, and are woven into the curriculum at various levels.  Granton implements a schoolwide composting project.  The district uses the Wisconsin K-12 Energy Education Program (KEEP), Project WET, Project WILD, and PLT materials, and students can enroll in a course titled Alternative Energy Overview for technical college credits.  Water education includes wetland lessons, aquatic biotic and water quality studies of the creek, aquaculture, invasive species studies, fish diseases, and pollution.  Students and community members can be seen walking, jogging, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing on the property, and the district uses a “hooked on fishing” program at the pond across the road.   Working with the LEAF program from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, students learn from professionals and inventory species at bioblitz events.  On field trips, students visit the county forest, local wildlife reserve, forests, apple orchards, cranberry marshes, parks, and the zoo.  Students can participate in FFA and the community green team, and they plant and maintain Granton’s numerous gardens.  The school has 12 raised beds, a few other plots, and even its own roto-tiller, purchased by the green team.  Students are learning processing, canning, and preserving produce from community members.  An outdoor classroom, adjacent forest land, and playground facility serve as outstanding environmental education learning labs.  

Georgia Institute of Technology Waste Audit

Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia

At Georgia Tech, sustainability principles and practices permeate every facet of campus life – from the locally-sourced produce in the dining halls, to the Game Day recycling program, to the school’s Smart Energy Campus program, which is designed to reduce energy consumption and increase building operational effectiveness.  Georgia Tech has made the Princeton Review Green Honor Roll, Sierra Club Coolest Schools, and has earned an AASHE STARS Gold rating.  From 2003 through 2015, Georgia Tech built or renovated 23 projects to LEED Silver-level certification or higher, certifying 2.9 million square feet of space.  Major solar power arrays on campus buildings not only generate clean electricity, but provide hands-on opportunities for students and researchers.  Data from energy utility systems all over campus are collected through the Smart Energy Campus initiative.  A green cleaning program led to an annual savings of 84 percent and a 56 percent reduction of chemical use.  As part of the Quality Enhancement Plan for the years 2016 – 2021, Georgia Tech introduced Serve-Learn-Sustain.  Students work to develop ways to help make communities more livable, sustainable, and prosperous.  This might include developing services for the under-served, deploying community renewable energy, supporting infrastructure for clean water, or developing local, state, and federal environmental policy.  Georgia Tech has 21 endowed chairs and 23 research centers that include a significant sustainability component or focus.

Resources and Opportunities

Captain Planet Logo

Captain Planet Foundation Small Grants Applications Due by Jan. 31

The Captain Planet Foundation is accepting the next round of applications for small grants totaling $500-$2500. Grant activities must be project-based, performed by youth, and have real environmental outcomes. >>>>

BioenergizeME Logo

Register for Department of Energy’s BioenergizeME Challenge by Feb. 3

In the 2017 BioenergizeME Infographic Challenge, high school-aged teams use technology to research, interpret, apply, and design an infographic that responds to one of four cross-curricular bioenergy topics.  Register by February 3 to test your knowledge and creativity along with student teams across the country.  Submissions are due March 3, 2017. Selected infographics will be featured on the challenge website, and one team will be selected to present at the Bioenergy Technologies Office's conference in Washington, D.C. >>>>

World of 7 Billion Logo

Enter the World of 7 Billion Student Video Contest by Feb. 23

Create a short video about human population growth that highlights one of the following global challenges: Deforestation, Public Health, or Water Scarcity.  All videos must include how population growth impacts the issue and at least one idea for a sustainable solution. >>>>


President’s Environmental Youth Awards Applications are Due Mar. 1 

The President’s Environmental Youth Awards promote awareness of our nation's natural resources and encourages positive community involvement. The program includes two components: a regional certificate of special recognition and a national award competition. All qualified applicants each year receive a certificate of recognition from their EPA regional office.  In addition, one outstanding project from each region is selected to receive a national award plaque. Projects are developed by young individuals, school classes (K-12), summer camps, and youth organizations to promote environmental stewardship.  >>>>


The Green Strides Webinar Series Continues 

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.  

November 29, 6:30-7:30 p.m.  NASA Technology in Your Classroom (NASA)

December 01, 6:00-7:00 p.m.  National Marine Sanctuaries: Lionfish (NOAA)

December 01, 6:00-7:00 p.m.  Solar System Math (NASA)

December 07, 3:00-4:00 p.m. 3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water (EPA)

December 08, 4:00-5:00 p.m.  Garden Ideas for Indoors (Chartwells)

December 14, 6:00-7:00 p.m.  So You Want to be a Rocket Scientist? (NASA)

December 19, 4:00-5:00 p.m.  How do I Measure This? (NASA)

December 20, 7:00-8:00 p.m.  Exploring Exoplanets Using Math (NASA)

December 21, 8:00-9:00 p.m.  Tracking Water from Space (NASA)


Green Schools Conference and Expo Logo

Save the Date: Green Schools Conference & Expo is March 21-22 in Atlanta 

The annual Green Schools Conference and Expo, the only national conference bringing together experts and stakeholders to influence sustainability in K-12 schools and districts, is designed to allow attendees to learn about creative strategies for success and to take home real-life tools that can transform schools.  Stay tuned: Early bird registration begins soon!  >>>>

Green Schools Alliance Logo

The Student Climate & Conservation Congress (Sc3) is June 25-July 1 in WV

The Sc3 is a week-long leadership training event for high school students held annually at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Conservation Training Center in West Virginia.  Students spend a week studying and discussing environmental, social, and economic interconnections to address climate change and conservation challenges affecting their generation – all while connecting with nature and new friends.  >>>>

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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Happy Thanksgiving Green Globe In Hands