'Tis the Season for School Ambassador Fellows & Director's Award Nominations

Green Strides Design


          U.S. Department of Education

   Green Strides

In this edition:


School Ambassador Fellowship Program montage

Join the U.S. Department of Education as a School Ambassador Fellow

The Department's 2017-2018 School Ambassador Fellowship application is open. This program is designed to broaden the agency’s Teaching Ambassador Fellowship and Principal Ambassador Fellowship programs to allow other professional school personnel -- like counselors, librarians, parent liaisons, and assistant principals -- to apply.  The goal is to create a cadre of outstanding educators to inform the work of the Department, while expanding their own knowledge and expertise as they participate in and help lead the national education dialogue.  As in previous years, applicants may choose to apply as Washington Fellows -- a full-time appointment where fellows are based in residence at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. -- or as Campus Fellows -- a part-time appointment where fellows collaborate with the agency while maintaining their regular school responsibilities in their home communities.  The application closes January 23.  >>>>


Last Chance to Enter ED-Green Ribbon Schools '17

Participating state education authorities have winter application deadlines for 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS), with nominations due to ED by Feb. 1.  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.  Hearing from interested applicants may be helpful to those states considering participation in a future year.  State education authorities can find award 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 for schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions to gear up for the 2018 application cycle by using resources and programs on Green Strides and to contact your state authority if it does not already make nominations.  Read some common misconceptions about the award dispelled in a blog by the director and review Frequently Asked Questions about the award. >>>>

Bernie Piaia 2016 Director's Award Recipient
Bernard E. Piaia Jr., Director of the Office of School Facilities at the New Jersey Department of Education, receives the 2016 Director's Award at a ceremony on July 20, 2016 in Washington, DC.

Director’s Award Nominations Due March 1st

The Director’s Award recognizes state education authorities’ exemplary efforts to administer U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS).  Annually, the Director’s Award goes to the state education official who does the most to advance sustainable education in his or her state, by such means as running a robust nomination process; connecting more schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions to sustainability resources; amplifying the stories of honorees; helping schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions connect and learn from one another; partnering with a variety of state and non- and for-profit private sector entities; and exhibiting a dedication to exceptional school facilities, health, and environmental education through activities outside of the award.  If you wish to nominate an official from your state education agency, please send your nomination and justification to ed.green.ribbon.schools@ed.gov by March 1st.  Any state education agency official who is involved in implementing the ED-GRS award and who has not already won the Director’s Award is eligible for nomination.  Read about the past Director’s Award recipients. >>>>

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.

Fly fishing at Broadneck High School
The Broadneck physical education department is committed to engaging students in outdoors physical activity with courses such as Walking for Wellness and Lifetime Sports, the latter of which offers a unit in fly fishing during which students are able to visit a local waterway to practice.

Broadneck High School, Annapolis, Maryland

Since 1982, Broadneck High School (BHS) has been an environmentally-oriented institution with students and staff participating in civic-minded, bay-focused restoration projects.  Students have led efforts to plant bay grasses, design and implement rain gardens, and develop and plant stormwater restoration projects.  AP Environmental Science students conduct annual stream studies of a retention pond on school property over a 10-year time period.  All students are afforded the opportunity to engage in environmental literacy through signature overlays, a means of refocusing existing content so that it can be taught through the lens of the environment.  Students recognized the challenge of recycling, and collaborated with operations staff, custodial staff, and faculty to implement a successful schoolwide program.  The school engages in walking field trips to reduce transportation use and keep students active.  The Environmental Literacy Explorations course partnered with the Baltimore Gas and Electric company to develop a student-led energy audit.  In 2015, the school’s Green Team began an organic vegetable garden in the school’s courtyard.  At Broadneck and around Anne Arundel County Public Schools, students can take unlimited fruits and vegetables with their lunches.

Student setting up for solar car race in Alachua County Schools FL
An Alachua County Public Schools student sets up her vehicle at the Junior Solar Sprint Car Competition at the North Florida Energy Whiz Expo, where students demonstrate their STEM understanding as it pertains to renewable energies.

Alachua County Public Schools, Florida

Alachua County Public Schools (ACPS), where approximately 50 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced price lunch, was an EPA 2013 ENERGY STAR Leader and Top Performer District, achieving an average ENERGY STAR score of 77 across its schools.  ACPS has 21 school sites with more than two megawatts of photovoltaics installed.  Three of these projects were provided through partnerships with local utility providers, and are hands-on learning centers for students.  Eighteen sites are Feed-In-Tariff programs, which provide a substantial income to ACPS from the rental of roof spaces.  In addition, a portion of the solar rental income is earmarked toward funding the North Florida EnergyWhiz Expo event a forum for students to demonstrate their STEM knowledge and skills as they relate to such energy topics as solar thermal, photovoltaics, and hydrogen technology.  The event features a Junior Solar Sprint Car Competition and a Solar Energy Cook-Off.  In addition, the district has provided a solar energy kit in conjunction with a one-day workshop about solar energy to every school in the county, along with solar energy training for a teacher from each of the 42 schools.  ACPS' Camp Crystal Lake program sends all second grade students to a sixty acre "classroom without walls” to engage in environmental learning.  In fifth grade, all students attend overnight campouts onsite to further enhance their understanding of North Central Florida's ecosystems firsthand.  The district’s award-winning Food and Nutrition Services department has nearly two dozen farm-to-school programs underway. 

Chancellor Mone on Bublr Bikeshare
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Chancellor Mark Mone gives the campus' Bublr Bikeshare a whirl.

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s (UWM) academic departments, such as the master’s degree program in Sustainable Peacebuilding—a graduate degree program that prepares students to work with communities on issues such as human development, resource stewardship, and conflict resolution—exemplify the interdisciplinary nature of a sustainable future.  Student Affairs delivers co-curricular environmental film festivals, energy competitions in the residence halls, and leadership in green office practices.  Facility Services has been a leader in energy conservation and chemical reductions. Extensive recycling programs, green cleaning, stormwater runoff reductions, and energy conservation have led to cost savings.  Performance contracting alone has saved UWM $11.9 million in avoided energy costs through fiscal 2015.  Academic research on stormwater management has been well aligned with the administrative rollout of multiple green roofs, green parking lots, and cistern stormwater catchment that are reducing the combined sewer overflow effect on Lake Michigan. Campus grounds include the 11.1-acre Downer Woods forest, native prairie plantings in stormwater gardens throughout campus, and natural lawn care.  UWM offers 190 sustainability-focused and related courses across 38 departments.  The majority of core STEM-identified departments offer such coursework.  The recent opening of the School of Freshwater Science and Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health are both model examples of building a sustainable, healthy community.  UWM is also home to an interdisciplinary, sustainability-focused Global Studies program, the School of Architecture’s Institute for Ecological Design, the cross-institutional and community-oriented Institute for Urban Agriculture and Nutrition, as well as a breadth of sustainability curriculum across the arts, sciences, and humanities.  The Outdoor Pursuits program, delivered through University Recreation, builds a unique program for the urban environment, and develops outdoor and lifestyle skills for a wide variety of students.   


Green Schools Conference and Expo logo

The Green Schools National Conference & Expo is March 21-22 in Atlanta 

 The Green Schools Conference and Expo (GSCE) connects green school champions nationwide for two days of learning and collaboration to support the shared mission of equitable, healthy and high-performing schools, where students can learn how to sustain and improve the world around them.  Green Schools National Network members receive a discount on registration. Learn more about membership>>>>

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.  >>>>

Resources and Opportunities


Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant Applications Due January 31

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration grant focuses on the stewardship and restoration of coastal, wetland and riparian ecosystems across the country to meet the conservation needs of important species and habitats, providing measurable and meaningful conservation and educational outcomes. The program requires the establishment and/or enhancement of diverse partnerships and an education/outreach component that will help shape and sustain behavior to achieve conservation goals. >>>>

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. >>>>

Bioenergize Me 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. >>>>

EPA logo

President’s Environmental Youth Awards Applications are Due March 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 ed.green.ribbon.schools@ed.gov for listing.

Green Strides Design

January 10, 2017, 4:00-5:30 p.m. Teachers Connect: NASA LaRC 100 (NASA)

January 18, 2017, 6:00-7:00 p.m. Deep Sea Science in the Classroom (NOAA)

January 26, 2017, 1:00-2:00 p.m. Energy Efficiency Plus Indoor Air Quality (EPA)

Happy holiday red and green lights

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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