Nominations for the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Director’s Award Due February 1

Green Strides Design


          U.S. Department of Education

   Green Strides

Dog sled racing conserve school
Dog sled racing students from Conserve School, a 2014 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School, participate in the Three Bear Sled Dog Race held each February in Land O' Lakes, Wisconsin, defining the course at a trail crossing while a four-dog team passes.

In The News

Keisha Ford Jenrette DA Presentation

The 2018 ED-Green Ribbon Schools Director’s Award: Nominations Due February 1

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. If you wish to nominate a state education official, please send your nomination letter to by February 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 work of past ED-GRS Director’s Award recipients. >>>>


States Selecting Nominees for U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools 2018  

This fall, the U.S. Department of Education invited 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 efforts in 2018.  View the honorees and read about their work on Green Strides

Chiaravalle Toddler Preps Veggies
At Chiaravalle Montessori School, toddlers tend the organic garden; preschoolers sort recycling; elementary children work to restore endangered prairielands and manage schoolwide worm composting.

Chiaravalle Montessori School, Evanston, Illinois

Chiaravalle Montessori is an independent school for children ages six months through eighth grade.  In 2015, Chiaravalle completed construction of the North Wing, a multi-story, LEED Platinum replacement for an aging annex attached to a historic school built in 1898.  Sustainable features include geothermal heating and cooling, photovoltaics, a green roof, use of renewable materials, and a high-performance building envelope.  Montessori philosophy places emphasis on caring for and understanding the natural world.  Middle school students take multiple weeklong outdoor education trips and grow hydroponic basil for a local restaurant.  Waste-free lunches, nontoxic cleaning products, and organic food are part of a comprehensive, sustainable education. Students enjoy being in an active school where they can move throughout their day.  They sit on the floor, at tables, or use standing desks, and have freedom to use the entire building as their learning space instead of being seated at a single desk for many hours.  Students as young as three years old can decide to take a movement break; opportunities for sports, yoga, dance, and meditation are offered daily; and active transportation is strongly encouraged.   Chiaravalle has a student Green Team that works with peers, faculty, and parents to encourage waste-free lunches; raise money for ecological nonprofit initiatives they wish to support; teach their peers how to use the compost bins; and initiate other student projects.  Chiaravalle has a green purchasing policy that prioritizes organic foods and ecofriendly products and processes whenever possible and cost effective.   >>>>

Culver City Students Explain Green 5
During the 2011–12 school year, CCUSD launched the Green5 co-curricular sustainability education program to increase awareness among students and staff about recycling; reducing waste, energy use, and water consumption; reusing materials; engaging in active transportation; and rethinking local solutions to global problems.

Culver City Unified School District, California

In October 2010 the Culver City Unified School District (CCUSD) Board created the Environmental Sustainability Committee to help the district become more environmentally and fiscally sustainable, and foster an ecoliterate and globally responsible student body.  In 2011 the ESC facilitated a third-party baseline energy audit of the school facilities, created a sustainability master plan for the school board, and began working on bringing a 750 kilowatt solar photovoltaic system to the district’s main campus.  As of February 2014 the solar panels accounted for approximately 82 percent of the energy needs of the three schools and delivered over $500,000 back into the district’s general fund each year.  CCUSD retrofitted all lights with LEDs and all restrooms with low-flow fixtures.  In 2014 CCUSD received a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rebate to replace two old diesel-fueled buses with new, cleaner, low-emission buses.  Since 2014 the amount of materials being sent to the landfill by CCUSD has been reduced by more than 50 percent, for a districtwide diversion rate exceeding 80 percent.  The Green5 program now includes annual school assemblies; student and staff leaders at each school site; trainings on energy and water auditing and waste reduction analysis and techniques; annual recycling competitions; districtwide administration, analysis, and dissemination of the My Actions Count Survey three times each year; a robust Safe Routes to School-sponsored Walk 'n Rollers Program; an expanding partnership with Culver CityBus Green Fleet; an award-winning food program; and a program focused on reducing food waste and sharing food with local families.  There is also an air quality program, a green cleaning pilot, and a mindfulness pilot underway, as well as edible and learning gardens in every school.  All elementary students have garden class as part of formal instruction.  At the middle and high schools, all students are eligible to participate in garden clubs.  There are seasonal farmers markets at all schools.  The district offers a science camp on Catalina Island, students participate in coastal cleanup, and some grades participate in the Trout in the Classroom program.  CCUSD holds all physical education classes outdoors except in rain, and each school site has a school nurse or health aid onsite at all times.  Each elementary school also has either a full-time or part-time school psychologist as well as a school counselor.  The Sandy Segal Youth Health Center, located on the main campus, provides free quality health care for hundreds of Culver City youths each year, along with supportive services and health education benefiting entire families.  In addition to 30 minutes of physical education every day, all elementary schools have a total of 60 minutes of recess for free play in outdoor spaces.  In June 2016 the school board passed an Environmentally Preferential Purchasing Policy and Administrative Resolution.  >>>>

Keene LEED Platinum Academic Building
Keene’s LEED Platinum educational building was built to support STEM education.

Keene State College, Keene, New Hampshire

Keene State College’s mission statement articulates core values of environmental stewardship, sustainability, social justice, and equity.  Keene State conducted a baseline greenhouse gas inventory using the Clean Air/Cool Planet’s Campus Carbon Calculator, and a baseline performance evaluation using the AASHE STARS assessment yielded a Silver rating.  Some key accomplishments include the school’s innovative, first-in-the-nation initiative to replace polluting heating oil with a carbon neutral biofuel made from 100 percent purified recycled vegetable oils, which currently comprises 36 percent of the school’s annual fuel use.  The college’s food waste education and composting programs support 30 percent diversion of waste receiving accolades from the EPA Food Recovery Challenge.  Keene State emphasizes organic landscaping using compost made from dining hall kitchen waste.  The college’s new, state-of-the-art, high-performance residential living and learning center is designed to help achieve the aim of carbon-neutral/fossil free buildings by 2030.  The school community has established a socially and environmentally responsible investment option.  Sustainable health initiatives range from a host of outdoor clubs and fitness programs, to a commitment to local and fair-traded food.  Environmental and sustainability education at Keene State engages the whole curriculum, with every student required to complete 40 Integrative Studies credits.  Keene State offers four majors (environmental studies, geography, sustainable product design and innovation, and safety and occupational health applied sciences) that explore key relationships between environmental, energy, and human systems, and some 35 percent of all academic classes address environmental or sustainability topics. The Putnam Science Center houses biology, chemistry, physics, geology, and geography—as well as a rooftop greenhouse.  Another point of pride is the Ecovation Hub Education Research and Training Consortium, which is a collaborative effort to develop a regional higher education center for green building and community development that fosters sustainability and resilience.  >>>>

Resources and Opportunities

HSC Green Cleaning

Applications for the Green Cleaning Award for Schools and Universities Due Jan. 16, 2018

The Green Cleaning Award for Schools and Universities recognizes schools with outstanding green cleaning programs. The application for the 2018 award is now available online. Applications are due on Jan. 16, 2018.  >>>>

CDC Healthy Schools

New CDC Healthy Schools Funding Opportunity Available

Are you committed to building healthy schools, collaborating with diverse stakeholders, and creating the conditions for every child to have a healthy, successful life? You may be eligible for the America’s Promise Healthy Schools Fund.  Three to five two-year grants of up to $300,000 are available for organizations working toward creating healthier school environments for all children. Applicants from 20 priority states are eligible. The deadline to apply is January 22, 2018. >>>>

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.  >>>>


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.  >>>>


Cities Connecting Children to Nature

Applications for Assistance to Connect Children to Nature are Due Jan. 31, 2018

The National League of Cities and Children & Nature Network are requesting applications for city governments interested in technical assistance, with pass-through funds, to connect children to nature more equitably.  Applicants are encouraged to attend an informational webinar on Jan. 12, 2018 at 1-2pm ET.  >>>>

Kids to Parks

Kids to Parks Day National School Contest Closes Feb. 1, 2018

The National Park Trust’s Kids to Parks Day National School Contest is now open. The contest is open to all Title I schools and school groups in the U.S. in grades pre-K through 12. The goal of the Kids to Parks Day National School Contest is to help educators engage students with their local parks through education, outdoor recreation, and stewardship.  >>>>


Applications for EPA Student and Educator Awards Are Due March 1, 2018

The President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) recognizes outstanding environmental projects by K-12 youth. PEYA promotes awareness of our nation's natural resources and encourages positive community involvement. The Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators (PIAEE) recognizes outstanding K-12 teachers who employ innovative approaches to environmental education.  PIAEE’s winners will be awarded up to $2,500 to be used to further their professional development in environmental education. The teacher's local education agency will also receive up to $2,500 to fund environmental education activities.  >>>>


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.)

Jan. 9, 3–4:15 p.m.  Placing Equity at the Center of Farm to Early Care and Education (National Farm to School Network)

Jan. 11, 1–2 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 201 (EPA)

Jan. 16, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  NASA Aeronautics:  Exploring the Extreme (NASA)

Jan. 17, 3–4:30 p.m.  Infusing Sustainability Principles and Practices into Study Abroad (AASHE)

Jan. 17, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  NASA Spotlites – Science for Students by Students (NASA)

Jan. 18, 1–2 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 301 (EPA)

Jan. 22, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  How NASA Plans to Get Humans Back to the Moon (Exploration Mission 1 (EM1) (NASA)

Jan. 29, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  The Evolution of the Spacesuit – Dressed for Space (NASA)

Feb. 21, 2–3 p.m.  National Marine Sanctuaries Webinar Series:  Virtual Dives into America’s Underwater Treasures (NOAA)


Farm to Cafeteria Banner

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 25–27, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, this biennial event convenes institutional cafeteria stakeholders who are working to source local food and promote a culture of food and agricultural literacy across the country.  Registration will open January 2018.   >>>> 


The 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.  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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