Apply to Become a 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School

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          U.S. Department of Education

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States Invited to Select Nominees for U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools 2018  

The U.S. Department of Education invites state education authorities to nominate schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions for U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) 2018.  As stated in the award criteria, in addition to a total of five school or district nominees, each state may nominate one postsecondary institution for leadership in all three pillars, for a total of no more than six nominees.  State selection committees may include state education agencies, state higher education agencies, governors’ offices, and outside partners. Interested schools, districts, colleges, and universities should contact their state education authorities for information on how to be considered for nomination.  State education authorities can contact ED-GRS for more information.  Nominations from states will be accepted on a rolling basis until March 31, 2018.  >>>>

Meet More of the 2017 Honorees!

As you hunker down for winter at school, take inspiration from the 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools for your own ideas in 2018.  View the honorees and read about their work on Green Strides.  

UW-SP Cafe Students Working
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point offers several healthy and sustainable eating programs, including its College of Professional Studies Café, which promotes a sustainable food culture.

The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Stevens Point, Wisconsin

The University of Wisconsin (UW)-Stevens Point is a signatory of the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment, the Talloires Declaration, and  gold-rated in the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) STARS program.  UW-Stevens Point is on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Top 30 College and University list of largest green power users, and is the first university in the state to get 100 percent of its electricity from clean energy sources.  A campuswide composting program and a recycling center reduce landfill waste and save money.  Efficient water use is supported through dual flush toilets, water bottle refill fountains, a computer-controlled irrigation system, rain gardens, a green roof, and innovative stormwater systems built on newly constructed parking lots.  The Student Greenfund uses student fees to fund sustainability-based projects on campus and at its field stations.  The university is the birthplace of the National Wellness Institute and offers both workplace wellness and student health services. It does this through the Pointers Achieve Wellness (PAWs) program, an employee assistance program, its Student Health Promotion Office that employs student health advocates, a campus-wide smoking ban, a cardio center, its Health Enhancement Center, intramurals, and an outdoor gear rental program.  UW-Stevens Point also has the Schmeeckle Reserve, a 280-acre conservancy area on campus, with five miles of trails and boardwalks, a 24-acre lake, and diverse wildlife habitats.  The school’s Academic Custodial Work Unit is GREENGUARD-certified to ensure healthy, safe cleaning.  Its Doctor of Education in Educational Sustainability Program, developed by the School of Education, began in fall 2017.  The school’s College of Natural Resources offers programs in natural resource disciplines, resource management, and environmental education, using the Central Wisconsin Environmental Station, Treehaven, and other managed properties.  For over 25 years, the Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education has worked to advance environmental education literacy through its K–12 Energy Education Program and K–12 Forestry Education Program. >>>>

Sedalia Garden
Students spread humus in their outdoor garden. The student-led garden team cultivates vegetables, herbs, and fruit trees using hugelkultur gardening, which uses a limited amount of water.

Sedalia Elementary School, Sedalia, Colorado

As a rural Title I school, housed in a facility built in 1958, and serving a student population of which 53 percent are eligible for free and reduced-price lunch, Sedalia Elementary School regularly overcomes significant challenges to sustainability.  It earned the Eco-Schools USA Green Flag Award in 2014.   Solatubes and recycling bins are in every classroom.  Classrooms participate in an energy reduction incentive program, led by fifth- and sixth-graders, with rewards given at various levels to students who turn off docking stations and lights.  Sedalia’s students follow an effective recycling program, divert food waste from the cafeteria to chicken coops, and practice composting and vermicomposting, leading to a 70 percent recycling rate.  Students have the opportunity to sell their own produce and collaborate with local farmers at their weekly produce stand.  The pollinator garden contributes to biodiversity, and students love seeing the variety of pollinators and enjoy the beauty of the flowers.  The foundation of Sedalia’s culture of sustainability lies in its sustainability special class, which provides environmental education to every student.  Through this class, students engage in project-based learning addressing sustainability pathways, such as waste and consumption, energy conservation, sustainable food, and health and wellness.  Students participate in the Global Learning to Benefit the Environment program as citizen scientists.  They engage in a three-day/two-night outdoor education program in sixth grade, and serve on eco-leadership teams.  >>>>

Moriarty water quality studies
Fifth grade students at Moriarty Environmental Sciences Magnet School learn to test water for dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity, biodiversity, temperature, and salinity. They apply these skills to local bodies of water; read about water issues, sewage treatment plants, and methods to clean water; and design water filters using the engineering design process.

Moriarty Environmental Sciences Magnet School, Norwich, Connecticut

Moriarty Environmental Sciences Magnet School (MESMS) is a kindergarten through fifth-grade intra-district magnet public school.  The school consists of 64 percent minority students and 17 percent English language learners, and 71 percent of the school population is eligible for free and reduced-price lunch.  One of the school’s greatest accomplishments has been the creation of outdoor learning spaces and their integration into the curriculum.  These include a community garden, natural wildlife habitat, local bodies of water, butterfly garden, sidewalk gardens to create more permeable surfaces, and an outdoor classroom pavilion.  Throughout the school grounds, students are engaged in cross-curricular inquiry units.  Along with the district’s active energy management of the school, an after-school club did an energy and schoolyard landscape audit.  MESMS collaborates with Food Corps, Norwich Public Schools Food Service, and FRESH New London to ensure the school teaches about proper nutrition and provides healthy food and drink options.  The district has a processing kitchen and is able to source about 50 percent of school food with locally farmed fruits, vegetables, and dairy.  Instead of cupcakes, a birthday student will get to pick to be line leader, add an extra five minutes of recess for the class, pick a special lunch seat, or eat lunch with the teacher.  Students spend about 30 percent of their day outdoors for recess and physical education, and learn in the outdoor classroom.  Students also participate in “brain breaks” while staff members have opportunities to practice yoga and meditate.  The school implements a no-idling policy, and participates in the EPA’s Air Quality Flag Program.  All of MESMS’ cleaning products are certified green.  Third, fourth, and fifth graders run the recycling and composting program at lunch, and help younger students determine what foods can be composted and recycled.  Moriarty staff members have received professional development through Project WET, Project WILD, Schoolyard Habitats, School Gardens, Monarch Recovery, statewide environmental training, and Project Learning Tree. >>>>

Resources and Opportunities

Children and Nature Logo

Children and Nature Launches Green Schoolyards Resource Hub

The Children and Nature Green Schoolyards Resource Hub offers tools for municipal leaders, administrators, school staff, parents, and community members to advocate for, implement, fully use, and steward citywide or school districtwide green schoolyard programs. Resources encompass making the case for a green schoolyard, securing funding, design, policymaking, learning, partnerships, management, and evaluation, and other topics related to green schoolyards.  >>>>

Farm 2 School Month Carrots

USDA Farm to School Grant Application Deadline is Dec. 8

USDA anticipates awarding approximately $5 million in grant funding to support efforts that improve access to local foods in schools.  Applicants may apply for a Planning grant, Implementation grant, or Training grant.  Planning grant awards will range from $20,000-$50,000 and implementation grant awards will from $50,000-$100,000.  Funding for training grants is expected to range from $20,000-$50,000.  For all three types of grants, the federal share of a project cannot exceed 75 percent of the total cost of the project. >>>>


Captain Planet Logo

Captain Planet Foundation ecoSolution Grants Application Deadline is Jan. 31, 2018

The Captain Planet Foundation’s ecoSolution Grants (previously called “Small Grants”) have been the defining basis of the organization’s work over the last 25 years.  The foundation has funded over 2,100 projects that have impacted 1.2 million youths around the world—actively fulfilling its mission to build the next generation of environmental stewards and change-agents. ecoSolution Grants range from $500-$2,500 and are intended to support solution-oriented, youth-led projects that result in real environmental outcomes.  >>>>

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Logo

Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant Application Deadline is Jan. 31, 2018

Projects include a variety of ecological improvements along with targeted community outreach, education and stewardship. Ecological improvements may include one or more of the following: wetland, riparian, forest and coastal habitat restoration; wildlife conservation, community tree canopy enhancement, water quality monitoring and stormwater management. Projects should also increase access to the benefits of nature, reduce the impact of environmental hazards and engage local communities, particularly underserved communities, in project planning, outreach and implementation.  >>>>


Green Strides Design

The Green Strides Webinar Series Continues This Winter

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. (Note: All times listed are ET.)


Nov. 21, 1–2 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 201 (EPA)

Nov. 21, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Earth Sense – Remote Sensing at NASA:  Sally Ride EarthKAM (NASA)

Nov. 28, 1–2 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 301 (EPA)

Nov. 28, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  The Adventures of Amelia the Pigeon K-2 (NASA)

Nov. 29, 12–12:30 p.m.  Portfolio Manager – Ask the Expert (EPA)

Nov. 29, 3–4 p.m.  EMERGE:  Mindshifting Through Emergent Leadership (AASHE)

Nov. 29, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Earth Sense – Remote Sensing at NASA:  GLOBE Atmosphere (NASA)

Nov. 30, 6–7 p.m.  Earth Sense – Remote Sensing at NASA:  Mission Geography K-5 (NASA)

Dec. 4, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Using Earth Observations to Talk about Snow and Ice (NASA)

Dec. 5, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Earth Sense – Remote Sensing at NASA:  GLOBE Hydrology (NASA)

Dec, 6, 12–12:30 p.m.  Portfolio Manager – Ask the Expert (EPA)

Dec. 6, 1–2:30 p.m.  Food Waste Collections Across Campus (CURC)

Dec. 6, 3–4 p.m.  Sustainability Beyond Campus:  Engaging Students in Sustainability, Resilience and Climate Policymaking (AASHE)

Dec. 6, 6–7 p.m.  National Marine Sanctuaries Webinar Series:  Coral Bleaching (NOAA)

Dec. 6, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Earth Sense – Remote Sensing at NASA:  Water Filtration (NASA)

Dec. 7, 1–2 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 101 (EPA)

Dec. 7, 6–7 p.m.  NASA Food for Thought (NASA)

Dec. 11, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Space Mathematics:  Active Math (NASA)

Dec. 12, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  POLAR-PALOOZA – The importance of the polar areas. (NASA)

Dec. 13, 12–12:30 p.m.  Portfolio Manager – Ask the Expert (EPA)

Dec. 13, 3–4:30 p.m.  Building a Strong Local Foods Program for Your Campus (AASHE)

Dec. 14, 6–7 p.m.  Earth Sense – Remote Sensing at NASA:  Mission Geography 6-12 (NASA)

Dec. 19, 1–2 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 201 (EPA)

Dec. 19, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Satellite Observations in Science Education:  Hunting Icebergs (NASA)

Dec. 21, 1–2 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 301 (EPA)


New Partners for Smart Growth Logo

The New Partners for Smart Growth Conference is Feb. 1–3, 2018 in San Francisco, California

The 2018 Partners for Smart Growth Conference will feature eight focused thematic tracks that will provide participants with a dynamic, hands-on learning experience.  Each track will focus on a set of topics strongly connected to timely community issues or challenges, with smart growth as a common thread.  Sessions will have a strong focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion.  >>>>

Berea Produce

Mark Your Calendar for the National Farm to Cafeteria Conference April 25–27, 2018, in Cincinnati, Ohio

The 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference will be held April 26-27, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, this biennial event convenes stakeholders engaged in farm to cafeteria activities who are working to source local food and promote a culture of food and agricultural literacy across the country. Registration will open in January 2018.  >>>>

Green Schools Conference and Expo

Save the Date: Green Schools Conference and Expo is May 3 and 4, 2018, in Denver, Colorado 

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, allows attendees to learn about creative strategies for success and take home real-life tools that can transform schools.  Early registration has begun!  >>>>

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 Globe