ED Celebrates 2017 Honorees in D.C.

Green Strides Design


          U.S. Department of Education

   Green Strides

In The News

Holly Ham Addresses Ceremony Audience
U.S. Department of Education Assistant Secretary for Management Holly Ham congratulates the 2017 ED-GRS honorees.

ED Honors 2017 School, District, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees in D.C.

On July 19, the 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees received accolades at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. for their sustainable, healthy facilities; wellness practices; and sustainability learning.  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Education Director Louisa Koch, ED’s Assistant Secretary for Management Holly Ham, Director of the Campaign for Environmental Literacy James L. Elder Jr., and Director of the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Anisa Heming congratulated the awardees. They also announced the relaunch of the Green Strides Tour, which will head to Georgia this fall.

You can view video and photos from the ceremony and reception.  Read the press release and the ED-GRS Director’s closing remarks.  We invite you to share ceremony photos and impressions with us on Twitter (EDGreenRibbon) using hashtags #EDGRSCeremony or #EDGreenRibbon.

Thank You Sponsors

Thank You, Sponsors!

Thanks to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for providing a wonderful venue at the Department of Commerce and to the Center for Green Schools for generously offering the annual reception. Thanks also to the following partners who offer activities: the Department of Energy, National Park Service, and ED Office of Non-Public Education.  Finally, ED offers its sincerest appreciation to state education agency personnel who spearhead award selection in each state.

Jenkintown Farm to School Truck

ED Announces the ‘Taking Learning Outside’ 2017 Green Strides Tour

ED-GRS and its Green Strides outreach initiative share promising practices and resources in the areas of safe, healthy, and sustainable school environments; nutrition and fitness; and environmental education.  As part of its Green Strides outreach, ED conducts an annual tour intended to spotlight the work of past and present honorees and bring more attention to their practices.  This year’s tour will take place September 19-20 in Georgia. It will highlight outdoor learning in its many forms, from school gardens to field studies to citizen science to forest schools, and provide opportunities to expand traditional learning into the real world to create change for the betterment of our society and the environment.    See the tour schedule here.  >>>>

Priority Actions PK-12 School Infrastructure

New Facilities Report: “Adequate and Equitable U.S. PK-12 Infrastructure”

The National Council on School Facilities, the 21st Century School Fund, the Center for Cities+Schools at the University of California at Berkeley, and the Center for Green Schools at the USGBC launched “Adequate & Equitable U.S. PK–12 Infrastructure, Priority Actions for Systemic Reform,” a report from the Planning PK-12 School Infrastructure National Initiative.  >>>>

Meet More of the 2017 Honorees!

While schools are on summer break, take inspiration from the 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools for ideas for the coming year.  View the honorees and read about their work on Green Strides.

Students Learn Importance of Stormwater Management
Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority sponsors a program called River Xchange, through which Sandia Vista Elementary School students learn about storm water management, and both national and local water quality and quantity issues.

Sandia Vista Elementary School, Rio Rancho, New Mexico

Sandia Vista Elementary School is a Montessori-influenced public school that serves 631 students in an LEED Silver-certified building.  Sandia Vista participates in the district initiatives Do the Light Thing and EnerG3.  The school has upcycling, precycling, composting, and standard recycling programs.  It also oversees a unique food recovery program that repackages unused food for needy families and was one of three pilot locations for the district’s Safe Routes to School program.  Sandia Vista uses 100 percent Green Seal-certified cleaning products.  A schoolwide campaign called Don’t Slack With Your Snack! encourages families to provide students with protein- and vegetable-based snacks.  A running club is offered four days a week, and dance parties are the highlight of Friday afternoons.  The school’s Sandia Vista Elementary Earth Squad meets to strategize on recycling, food reclamation, energy conservation, campus cleanup, and gardening.  The school features a community xeriscape garden and greenhouse, with every grade maintaining raised beds.  Sandia Vista has taken advantage of several 4-H youth development curricula, including units involving the incubation of eggs, food production and agricultural products, and disaster preparedness.  Students engage in local walking field trips, spend time in their arroyo classroom, and participate in the River Xchange program, which allows them to explore major water resources topics over many months as part of the curriculum.  >>>>

Omaha NW Magnet Horticulture
Omaha Northwest Magnet High School Horticulture Students educate Alternative Curriculum Program students on how to care for the plants in their community garden.

Omaha Northwest Magnet High School, Omaha, Nebraska

Omaha Northwest Magnet High School partnered with University of Nebraska Omaha Service Learning and its environmental sustainability class to engineer and build a rain garden that captures and filters storm water runoff. This helps to address the challenges posed by Omaha’s combined sewer systems.  The rain garden also acts as a habitat for declining species, such as Monarch butterflies and bees.  Students tag Monarchs and participate in the Monarch Watch program to monitor migration patterns and population numbers.  The project won the Nebraska state title for the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest, earning Northwest High School $20,000 worth of Samsung technology.  Northwest students partner with Keep Omaha Beautiful to clean and label storm drains so that trash does not get into the water and have made a how-to recycling video for their peers to reduce trash going into landfills.  Students also participate in the Chytrid Fungus Citizen Science project.  Northwest students have built a community garden and aquaponics system that grows fresh produce for the community.  The school tracks its resource use in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.  The school community checks to make sure all lights, monitors, and electronics are turned off at the end of the day, and ensures that faucets remain leak-free.  Northwest High School’s health and wellness team and student health center provide care to at-risk students.  >>>>

Duval Beach Clean Up
Students in Duval County's Sandalwood High School Green State Club participate in a shoreline cleanup.

Duval County Public Schools, Jacksonville, Florida

Duval County Public School system has created friendly competition between schools that then strive for continuous improvement in their conservation efforts.  Duval instituted a Green Champions Network, made up of teachers and staff who voluntarily facilitate green teams to incorporate sustainability concepts at their schools. They also have an award-winning teacher supply depot that repurposes donated materials into supplies.  The district allows employees to charge electric vehicles while at work and uses native landscaping, rain barrels, cisterns, and smart irrigation to save water.  As a result, the district has reduced annual utility costs from $26 million to $20 million and energy use by 32 percent. The district also has a 42 percent recycling rate.  Healthy facilities are maintained by using integrated pest management strategies, paying close attention to proper ventilation and indoor air quality, and closely monitoring procedures to ensure that students and staff with asthma and other medical conditions are comfortable and safe. Every school has locally grown produce, and offers salads daily with dark, leafy greens—often grown in Duval school gardens.  The district recognizes the work of outstanding teachers by offering a Green Champions award.  Duval conducts an annual environmental science professional development course.  The district provides students with opportunities to participate in a variety of environmentally focused field trips.  Students may choose a sustainable schools area of interest to study in depth.  The district is also home to an eco-architecture program and two coastal science academies.  >>>>

Resources and Opportunities

Center for Green Schools

Join Schools Across the World for Green Apple Day of Service

Since it began in 2012, the Green Apple Day of Service has inspired almost a million people in over 70 countries to support sustainability at their schools. This year, individuals will choose their own day of action, and the Center for Green Schools will provide them with unprecedented support. This event gives students hands-on experience with sustainability and strengthens civic leadership, environmental literacy, and project management skills.  Those who register early will receive guidance on specific dates and project types; prizes and recognition for their work; and information on how to access matching funds for their schools’ projects. >>>>

Captain Planet Logo

Apply for Captain Planet Foundation Small Grants by Sept. 30  

Captain Planet Foundation’s small grants fund environmental stewardship and service-learning projects that engage children in critical thinking, research, inquiry investigations, and real-world environmental problem solving.  Grants provide educators with the funding needed to purchase equipment, materials, or supplies.  >>>>

KAB Logo

Recycle-Bowl and America Recycles Day Open Registration

Keep America Beautiful offers two fall events to educate and engage school communities: 1) Recycle-Bowl (Oct. 16–Nov. 15) school registration opens Aug. 1, and 2) register to organize an America Recycles Day (Nov. 15) event.  >>>>


The Green Strides Webinar Series Continues All 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 ed.green.ribbon.schools@ed.gov for listing. (Note: All times listed are EDT.)

Aug. 2, 3–4 p.m.  Greening the Heart of Postsecondary Education (AASHE)

Aug. 2, noon–12:30 p.m.  Ask the Expert (EPA)

Aug. 2, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Talk With a Scientist—Mike MacFerrin (NASA)

Aug. 3, 2–3 p.m.  Trending Topics in Farm to School: Farm to School in Native Communities (National Farm to School Network)

Aug. 3, 4–5 p.m.  The Solar Eclipse: Sun, Earth, Moon Relationships (NASA)

Aug. 8, 1–2 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 101 (EPA)

Aug. 9, noon–12:30 p.m.  Ask the Expert (EPA)

Aug. 9, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Searching for Habitable Worlds with Kepler (NASA)

Aug.10, 1–2:30 p.m.  Engaging the Campus to Improve Recycling Participation (CURC)

Aug. 10, 6–7 p.m.  Exploring Beyond the Planets: Eyes on the Universe (NASA)

Aug. 16, noon–12:30 p.m.  Ask the Expert (EPA)

Aug.16, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Exploring Beyond the Planets: Understanding Asteroids (NASA)

Aug. 22, 1–2 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 201 (EPA)

Aug. 23, noon–12:30 p.m.  Ask the Expert (EPA)

Aug. 23, 4–5 p.m.  Exploring Beyond the Planets: NASA and Star Wars—The Connections are Strong in This One (NASA)

Aug. 24, 6–7 p.m.  Solar Eclipse 2017:  So it Rained—What Did You Miss? (NASA)


AASHE logo

The 2017 AASHE Conference and Expo Is Oct. 15–18 in San Antonio, Texas

The AASHE Conference and 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, “Stronger in Solidarity,” will focus on how the campus sustainability community can break down walls, build bridges, and continue to make progress toward a healthy and equitable future for all. >>>>

NAAEE logo

The NAAEE Conference Is Oct 18-21 in San Juan, PR

For more than four decades, the North American Association for Environmental Education has convened one of the leading annual conferences for environmental education professionals, including classroom teachers and teacher educators, nature center staff, climate science researchers, and everyone in between. Averaging 1,000 participants each year, the event is designed to promote innovation, networking, learning, and the dissemination of best practices.  This year’s conference on the theme “Imagine a World” is in San Juan, Puerto Rico. >>>>

A4LE Logo

The Association For Learning Environments Conference Is Oct. 26–29 in Atlanta, Georgia

The Association for Learning Environment’s mission is to connect those with a passion for creating the best possible learning spaces to empower students to succeed in a rapidly changing world. These spaces encourage innovation, critical thinking, collaborative teamwork, and other skills. This year’s conference includes educational sessions, keynotes, and a showcase of state-of-the-art tools that move learning into the future. >>>>

ED Spaces

EDspaces Is Oct. 25–27 in Kansas City, Missouri

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

Greenbuild Logo

Greenbuild 2017 Is Nov. 8–10 in Boston, MA

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. >>>>

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
If you received a forwarded newsletter, sign up to receive us directly next month.