February Green Strides Newsletter

Green Strides Design


          U.S. Department of Education

   Green Strides

Glendale Elem MN Snowshoe 2016
At Glendale Elementary School in Savage, Minnesota, students use snowshoes to learn about animal tracks.

In The News

ASHRAE K12 Design Guide for Zero Energy

ASHRAE Publishes Zero Energy Design Guide for Schools

ASHRAE, in collaboration with the American Institute of Architects, the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, and the U.S. Green Building Council, with funding support from the U.S. Department of Energy and analysis conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, recently released Advanced Energy Design Guide for K-12 School Buildings: Achieving Zero Energy. This guide supports elementary, middle, and high schools in their pursuit of zero energy performance goals for deep retrofits and new construction projects. The guide is intended for school stakeholders pursuing zero energy goals, including educators, school administrators, architects, design engineers, energy modelers, contractors, facility managers, and building operations professionals. >>>>


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 prepare for spring at school, take inspiration from the 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools for your own ideas.  View the honorees and read about their work on Green Strides.  

Lakeridge Elementary School Veggie Bounty
The Lakeridge Elementary School garden club helps to educate students about nutrition and sustainability, and its produce is used in the school cafeteria. All grades have the opportunity to work and plant in the school garden.

Lakeridge Elementary School, Mercer Island, Washington

Lakeridge Elementary School, serving nearly 500 students, has progressed in the King County Green Schools from level one to level four since 2009, through waste reduction, energy and water conservation, and transportation and environmental education.  Lakeridge Elementary, along with the entire school district, participates in an energy benchmarking program, run by Smart Buildings in Seattle.  All indoor and outdoor lightbulbs have been replaced with LED lights, and students learn the importance of monitoring energy use and turning off computers, appliances, and other equipment when not in use.  In addition, many classrooms have light timers and sensors.  Student educational campaigns promote water conservation, and new low-flow faucets in bathrooms and classrooms have reduced water usage by approximately 20 percent.  The school received ENERGY STAR certification in 2014.  In fall 2016, Lakeridge ran a food waste-reduction campaign during which students created posters about the effects of food waste and displayed them throughout the school. Students also helped weigh food compost after each lunch for several weeks.  As a result, Lakeridge reduced food waste by 15 percent.  In addition, the school’s garden club helps to educate students about nutrition and sustainability, and its produce is used in the school cafeteria.  All grades have the opportunity to work and plant in the school garden.  The school’s PTA has appointed a green team to its board of directors, and parent volunteers run a walkers club daily after lunch.  Every September, Lakeridge hosts re-education on being a green school.    Environmental and sustainability topics are integrated into Lakeridge's science lessons.  Students attend the three-day NatureBridge environmental science program in Olympic National Park, participate in field experiences at local beaches and the waterfront aquarium, and visit a salmon hatchery.  Second-graders raise caterpillars to butterflies, and kindergarteners raise chicken and duck eggs until they hatch. >>>>

Bemidji State Univ Forest Observations
Bemidji State University students record observations and reflections in the Bemidji State University Forest.

Bemidji State University, Bemidji, Minnesota

Bemidji State University (BSU) emphasized its commitment to the environment by hiring a campus sustainability director in 2008 to help support and promote the goals of the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment.  The director also oversees the funds generated from its student green fee. Waste management efforts at BSU have led to a 30 percent reduction in waste production and a doubling of campus recycling since 2006. The school’s “Donate, Don’t Dumpster” campaign encourages students to donate gently used items that otherwise would have gone in the dumpster at the end of the spring semester to BSU’s FreeStore. The FreeStore has been open to all students and operated by the school’s Sustainability Office since 2010.  Water conservation devices, such as low-flow showerheads and faucets, were installed in BSU’s high-use campus buildings in 2010.  Since their installation, more than 15,000,000 gallons of water have been saved.  In 2015, the BSU Student Senate unanimously passed a bill calling for the elimination of the sale of bottled water on campus and the promotion of refillable water bottles.  To date, refilling stations have saved more than 50,000 gallons of bottled water at BSU, reducing the high energy-consuming packaging, transportation, and water demands of the bottled water industry.  Air purifying plants improve BSU’s indoor environmental health, and for the past several years, the Sustainability Office has given away more than 100 house plants for use in offices across campus.  BSU’s Outdoor Program Center is dedicated to providing the community with outdoor experiential learning opportunities. These experiences encourage the enjoyment of nature, exploration of personal potential, and development of respect and understanding of the Earth’s systems and the responsibilities they entail.  The Sustainability Office runs an organic community garden, a bike-share program, and classes that teach traditional skills. Programs housed in the school’s Center for Environmental, Economic, Earth, and Space Studies offer interdisciplinary flexibility. This allows students to learn ecosystems studies, and gain skills in environmental policy and planning, toxicology, and management, as well as geohydrology.  A required liberal education course, People and the Environment, and an active sustainability-focused student organization, Students for the Environment, also encourage an environmentally literate citizenry.  BSU education majors oversee the EcoCamp for elementary school-aged students. >>>>

Students painting storm drains
Seventh- and eighth-grade students from John Poole Middle School paint storm drains on campus to educate the community about stormwater runoff issues in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

John Poole Middle School, Poolesville, Maryland

John Poole Middle School is located on 93,000 acres of preserved farmland and rural space, in a Washington, D.C., suburb, with a population of more than 1,000,000.  The school has fostered environmental awareness since its doors opened in 1997 through yearly environmental stewardship projects in which students take an active role in problem solving and suggesting solutions for schoolyard issues.  For example, students from different grade levels and classes worked together on the research, design, site selection, and final construction of an outdoor classroom.  In addition, an environmental science elective is offered to all seventh- and eighth-graders, resulting in 60 percent of the student body becoming immersed in meaningful outdoor learning experiences.  In the environmental science class, students design projects that positively affect the ecosystem and collaborate with the local high school’s global ecology program. These projects include building hydroponics systems and native gardens, and composting in the cafeteria.  Students also study the effects of bioaccumulation in the food chain, and use the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch program to make healthy seafood choices.  To supplement classes, John Poole offers an annual green school trip that engages students in environmental learning in a part of the watershed that is less familiar to them.  Students who take part in these trips become green school leaders.  The school purchases one-third wind energy, has a Portfolio Manager score of 83, and has reduced its energy use by 18 percent.  It has a well-publicized no-idling policy, a safe-routes-to-school infrastructure, and uses green cleaning and an Integrated Pest Management plan. >>>>

Resources and Opportunities


Applications for EPA Student and Educator Awards Are Due March 1

The President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) recognizes outstanding environmental projects by K–12 youths. PEYA promotes the 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 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. >>>>


Apply for EPA Environmental Education Local Grants by March 15

EPA expects to award three to four grants in each of EPA's ten Regions, for no less than $50,000 and no more than $100,000 each, for a total of 30-35 grants nationwide.  Among other topics, the 2018 EE Local Grant Program includes support for projects that reflect the intersection of environmental issues with agricultural best-practices, conservation of natural resources, food waste management, and natural disaster preparedness.  >>>>



Apply for NOAA Environmental Literacy Grants by April 6

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has announced funding for its Environmental Literacy Grants. These grants support the education of K–12 students and the public in order to help communities become more resilient to extreme weather events and/or other environmental hazards. >>>>


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 impacts and costs; improve health and wellness; and teach effective environmental education.  Consult the webinar calendar, and submit your 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 ET.)

Feb. 20, 12 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 301 (EPA)

Feb. 20, 23:15 p.m.  Volunteer Engagement in Safe Routes to School (Safe Routes to School National Partnership)

Feb. 20, 23:15 p.m.  Energy Rules – Closing the Circle between Design & Operations (EPA)

Feb. 21, Two Days.  EcoCareers Conference (NWF)

Feb. 21, 12 p.m.  How to Track Waste & Materials in Portfolio Manager (EPA)

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

Feb. 21, 56 p.m.  ISS YES – Water Is Necessary for Life (NASA)

Feb. 22, 1–2:30 p.m. Linking IAQ, Energy Efficiency and Preventive Maintenance for Healthy Schools (EPA)

Feb. 22, 6–7 p.m.  ISS YES – Teaching on the ISS (NASA)

Feb. 26, 6:307:30 p.m.  NASA Aeronautics – Speed of Sound (NASA)

Feb. 27, 23: p.m.  ISS YES:  Space Food & Nutrition (NASA)

Feb. 27, 6:307:30 p.m.  ISS YES:  Space Food & Nutrition (NASA)

Feb. 28, 12–12:30 p.m.  Portfolio Manager – Ask the Expert (EPA)

Feb. 28, 34:20 p.m.  Energy Engineering for Non-Engineers:  Sweetened and Condensed (AASHE) 

Feb. 28, 6–7 p.m.  ISS YES – Mass vs. Weight (NASA)

Feb. 28, 7:30–8:30 p.m.  Building Kids’ Citizenship Through Community Engagement (Green Teacher)

Mar. 1, 23 p.m.  Engaging Farmers in Farm to School (NFSN)

Mar. 1, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Technology Drives Exploration:  Engineering Rovers (NASA)

Mar. 5, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Technology Drives Exploration:  Strange New Planet (NASA)

Mar. 5, 7:308:30 p.m.  Building Complete Communities (Green Teacher)

Mar. 6, 6:307:30 p.m.  Technology Drives Exploration:  Spinoffs (NASA)

Mar. 7, 34 p.m.  Facilitating a World Climate Negotiation Simulation (AASHE)

Mar. 13, 6–7 p.m.  National Marine Sanctuaries Webinar Series:  Understanding Ocean Acidification (NOAA)

Mar. 13, 67 p.m.  National Marine Sanctuaries Webinar Series:  Understanding El Niño (NOAA)

Mar. 13, 7:308:30 p.m.  Risky Play and Child Development (Green Teacher)

Mar. 14, 34 p.m.  Lab Building Benchmarking:  Boston and Beyond (AASHE)


National Healthy Schools Day

National Healthy Schools Day is April 3

National Healthy Schools Day is coordinated by Healthy Schools Network in partnership with many agencies and organizations. It promotes the use of EPA's IAQ Tools for Schools Action Kit, as well as other EPA environmental health guidelines and programs for schools and children’s health.  Since 2002, parents, teachers, school nurses, custodians, advocates, and agencies have promoted National Healthy Schools Day activities nationwide.  Whether you are at the beginning stages of investigating school environments or have an established indoor air/environmental quality program, you are invited to host a local activity that educates others and celebrates your school’s successes. >>>>

Youth Service America Logo

Global Youth Service Day is April 20–22

Global Youth Service Day celebrates and mobilizes the millions of young people who improve their communities every day through service.  Established in 1988 by Youth Service America, Global Youth Service Day is the largest service event in the world and the only day of service dedicated to children and youths.  Find resources to plan and promote a project. >>>> 

Farm 2 School Banner

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

The 9th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference will be held April 25–27 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 is open until April 9.   >>>>



The Green Schools Conference and Expo is May 34 in Denver, Colorado 

The 2018 conference will focus on ways to inspire students to create and innovate by focusing on the future, encouraging each to approach our global challenges as stewards of the earth, its resources, and its people. Experienced educators will address how green schools impact students and how sustainability efforts at school play an important part in equity and inclusion. Workshops and education sessions by passionate professionals will cover the latest trends and case studies in energy efficiency, facilities management, public health and sustainability education.  Early bird registration rates end March 2.  >>>>

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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