States Nominate for 2017 ED-GRS by February 1

Green Strides Design


          U.S. Department of Education

   Green Strides

Outdoor Play Every Day
At 2012 ED-GRS honoree North Shore Community School in Duluth, MN students play outdoors everyday.

Editor's Note

Tomorrow, our nation will observe the transition from one presidential administration to the next.  Like all other recurring publications of the Department, Green Strides will be on hiatus as it is evaluated by the incoming administration.  In the interim, visit for the latest news and information. 

In the News

Gift World

The 2017 ED-Green Ribbon Schools 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 a state education official, please send your nomination and justification to by March 1st.  Any state education 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. >>>>

Gift Plant

States Nominate Now and ED-Green Ribbon Schools Announces 2017 Honorees in April

Participating state education authorities are nominating schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions to U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) by Feb. 1 and ED will announce the 2017 cohort around Earth Day.  Now is a great time to begin preparing 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 on all three award categories.  For future cycles, 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 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.   >>>>

Learn from the 2016 Honorees

Resolved to make some sustainable improvements on your school in 2017? Take inspiration from the 2016 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools and learn more about their work on Green Strides.

Students performing water quality testing in outdoor classroom
Students at Egg Harbor Township High School in Egg Harbor, NJ perform water quality tests in their outdoor classroom.

Egg Harbor Township High School, Egg Harbor, N.J.

The Egg Harbor Township High School (EHTHS) green team introduced students to composting during a series of sustainability science labs and then built a schoolwide program that has students collecting, measuring, and monitoring the process.  A school garden is used as an outdoor classroom where students receive hands-on instruction in designing, planting, maintaining, and harvesting.  The campus includes a wildlife habitat, an educational pond, a rain garden, and an outdoor learning area.  Through students’ efforts, EHTHS increased its recycling by over 4,000 percent.  EHTHS reduced utility costs by 35 percent through energy management and education, as well as the installation of motion-activated and LED lights, efficient appliances, and a 454-kilowatt solar array that generates 15 percent of the school’s energy needs. Students use the data gathered to work on yearly energy projects.  EHTHS has adopted an outdoor air quality index flag program.  Course sequences in Environmental Science and Oceanography are available to all students, and a new course dedicated entirely to the concept of sustainability began last fall.  Students participate in Science League, Recycle-Bowl, and Envirothon competitions.  >>>>

Students gain hands-on experience at LUMCON
Students from Baton Rouge Magnet High School in Baton Rouge, LA gain hands-on experience at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium.

Baton Rouge Magnet High School, Baton Rouge, La.

The original Baton Rouge Magnet High School (BRMHS) building was constructed in 1926, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  2012 renovations included energy- and water-saving retrofits, leading to a 60 percent reduction in energy use, improved air quality, and a 70 percent water use reduction.  BRMHS has a full-time nurse on staff who coordinates hearing and vision checks, the administration of flu vaccinations, and serves as a sponsor for the Healthy Lifestyles club.  All students in Louisiana’s East Baton Rouge Parish are provided with a breakfast and lunch at no cost.  BRMHS uses vending machines containing salads, sandwiches, and yogurt parfait (also at no cost to students) to offer more healthy choices in addition to the school cafeteria’s hot meal option.  Over the last six years, BRMHS has seen exponential growth in environmental studies enrollment.  BRMHS now teaches 200 students Environmental Science every year and students consistently score higher than average on the AP exam.  Each year, students from the AP Environmental Science class visit a nearby elementary school to provide a hands-on lesson on sustainability and students enrolled in environmental courses are required to design and implement a service learning project. Their teachers present at the North American Association for Environmental Education conference.  >>>>

Cuyahoga Valley EE Center
Sixth grade Urban Community School students attend a four-day, three-night environmental camp at Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center.

Urban Community School, Cleveland, Ohio

Urban Community School (UCS) relocated in 2005 to the near west side of Cleveland, on a brownfield consisting of an unused warehouse and its adjacent property.  The building is occupied by 550 students from preschool through grade eight, 74 percent of whom are eligible for free or reduced price lunch.  UCS features natural light, solar panels, timed computer shut-off, and water bottle refilling stations.  Recycling is routine throughout the school, and composting is underway in the early childhood wing.  UCS partnered with The Refugee Response and the Cleveland Botanical Garden to establish a half-acre learning garden that assists refugees in establishing themselves in the U.S. through produce that is sold to local restaurants.  KaBoom!, a national nonprofit that works to bring balanced and active play into the daily lives of all children, facilitated the installation of a playground designed for primary students.  MetroHealth hospital sponsors a weekly afterschool exercise program, and Urban offers karate classes to students.  Middle school students conducted a West Creek water quality project, working the U.S. EPA.  All students in the sixth grade go to the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center for a four-day, three-night environmental camp, which immerses students in watershed and sustainability concepts.  Upon returning from camp, sixth grade students develop and implement a sustainability project.  >>>>



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>>>>

Lucy School '12 Honoree Class Watering

Children & Nature Network’s Conference is April 18-21 in Vancouver, CA,  

The 2017 Children & Nature Network International Conference and Summit will be held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada from April 18 – 21, 2017. The 2017 conference theme, “Kids Need Nature, Nature Needs Kids,” reflects the Network’s goal of ensuring that all children have access to the many benefits of nature — and the need to inspire new generations of environmental stewards.  The conference will promote meaningful, cross-sector engagement to create a world in which all children have access to nature in their daily lives. >>>>

GSA Logo

Student Conservation Corps & Congress is June 25 - July 1 in Shepherdstown, WV

The Student Conservation Corps & Congress is a week-long leadership training program for 8th to 11th grade students held annually at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s National Conservation Training Center.  Participants spend a week studying and discussing environmental, social, and economic interconnections to address climate change and conservation challenges affecting their generation in an ever changing world.  >>>>

Resources and Opportunities


President’s Environmental Youth Awards Applications 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.  >>>> 


Green Strides Design

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.  

January 23, 4-5 p.m. Balloons and Kites for Elementary Educators (NASA)

January 24, 5-6 p.m. Portfolio Manager 101 (EPA)

January 24, 6-7 p.m. Principles of Flight (NASA)

January 24, 7-8 p.m. Future Flight Equation (NASA)

January 25, 5-5:30 p.m. Portfolio Manager – Ask The Expert (EPA)

January 25, 5-6 p.m. Portfolio Manager 201 (EPA)

January 25, 7-8 p.m. Staying Healthy in Space:  Engineering in Life Sciences (NASA)

January 26, 5-6 p.m. Portfolio Manager 301 (EPA)

January 26, 8-9 p.m.  How NASA Uses Math (NASA)

January 31, 4-5 p.m.  Teachers Connect: NASA LaRC 100 Webinar (NASA)

January 31, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Bernoulli’s Principle (NASA)

February 1, 5-5:30 p.m. Portfolio Manager – Ask The Expert (EPA)

February 1, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Detecting Exoplanets (NASA)

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

Winter Forest