The 2018 Honorees are Coming Next Month!

Green Strides Design


          U.S. Department of Education

   Green Strides

Edgewood Nature Pre K in the Snow

In the News

Announcement of 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Coming Soon

U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) is a federal recognition award for school sustainability.  Schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions that are achieving sustainability gains in facilities and grounds, health and wellness, and environmental literacy may apply to their state education authorities.  The 2018 honorees, ED's seventh cohort, will be announced this May.  


If your institution has not already been recognized, now is a great time to begin preparing for the 2019 application cycle by using resources and programs available on Green StridesRead some common misconceptions about the award dispelled in an evergreen blog by the director and review Frequently Asked Questions on all three award categories.  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 information.   >>>>

Meet a Few More of the 2017 Honorees

We feature a few more of the 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools in this edition.  Next time, we'll spotlight the 2018 cohort!  View the honorees and read about their work on the Green Strides website.  

Edgewood early Learning and 5th Grade Buddies Canoe Trip

Edgewood Early Childhood and La ola del lago Spanish Immersion School, Prior Lake, Minnesota

Home to several programs with different names, the Edgewood School provides over 700 young children and their families a safe and nurturing environment that fosters health and wellness, creativity and innovation, STEM knowledge and engagement, and understanding of and respect for the natural world.  In nature preschool, students spend as much time as possible engaged in outdoor learning and play.  Indoor classroom time is viewed as an extension of outdoor exploration, incorporating natural materials and providing opportunities for students to follow up on their experiences.  Each day, the various programs use an outdoor classroom space, butterfly garden, nature trails with interpretative sign posts, and the tree “stump corner” to provide nature play and learning experiences, as well as to hold outdoor lessons.  Students and families also frequent the district's environmental learning centers, as well as community parks and trails to further extend explorations and engagement in E-STEM learning.  Other activities include nature walks, snowshoeing, fishing, sledding, and animal tracking.  The school has a social worker and health aide on-site each day, and outside consultants are tapped to share expertise and knowledge with students on matters such as dental health, personal safety, bullying prevention, physical strength and endurance, and sleep.  Edgewood School is home to a school garden and participates in a farm to school program.  Recess is held before lunch.  Teachers offer brain breaks, yoga, and dancing in the classroom, and oversee a family nature club.  >>>>

Kinchafoonee students make observations in pollinator garden

Kinchafoonee Primary School, Leesburg, Georgia

Kinchafoonee Primary School (KPS) is located in the southwest part of Georgia, and serves approximately 697 students in kindergarten through second grade, 51 percent of who qualify for free and reduced-price lunch. The school sits on approximately 29 acres, with over 60 percent of its land dedicated to environmentally beneficial purposes, including 8.5 acres of designated wetlands with a newly renovated nature trail.  Using EnergyCAP software and Cenergistic tools, the school has tracked its resource use and made behavioral changes.  In a single year, the school reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 35 percent.  Kinchafoonee uses Green Seal-certified cleaning products and copy paper made from sustainably forested trees.  All water fixtures are low-flow, and sinks have self-closure fixtures.  Through KPS’ participation in the Pepsi Recycle Rally, students have recycled over 51,000 plastic bottles that otherwise would have gone into landfills.  Students also participate in an annual reading-for-recycling program.  There is a no-idle policy in place for buses, and a park-and-pick up option for parents in cars. The school has a full-time nurse and a full-time counselor.  The school partners with local mental, dental, and eye health providers to support the well-being of students and their caregivers, and has implemented a social emotional learning curriculum.  Kinchafoonee offers staff members outdoor workouts onsite four times a week.  KPS has a teacher who is certified in many areas of environmental education, serves as a leader in implementing new programs and provides support and resources to other classroom teachers.  The school created outdoor learning backpacks that contain resources to make outdoor lessons and activities more accessible.  Students play an active role in taking care of KPS gardens preparing the beds, weeding, planting, watering, and harvesting the produce that is grown.  They learn about planting native plants; feeding birds, bees, and butterflies; and outdoor environments, such as pollinator gardens, through the onsite wetlands, animal habitats, monarch butterfly habitat, and the school’s animal education welfare program.   >>>>

Green Gables Recycled Materials Artwork

Green Gables Elementary School, Federal Way, Washington

Green Gables Elementary School is an active partner with the King County Green Schools program, demonstrating results in waste reduction, recycling, energy, and water conservation.  Environmental stewardship is woven into every aspect of the Green Gables school day, from the classroom, to the lunchroom, to the play field.  Green Gables was the first school in its district to initiate comprehensive recycling and composting, increasing its recycling rate from 50 to 61 percent.  Energy and water use are benchmarked using EPA ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, with the school first being certified in 2001.  The green team reviews that data and implements practices in the school, including a conservation practice checklist placed on each classroom door.  In order to ensure consistent low-flow water rates, fourth and fifth graders tested the water flow of building faucets and reported findings, ultimately repairing four fixtures. The school collaborated with the city of Federal Way and the nonprofit organization Friends of the Hylebos to install two rain gardens.  Green Gables was the first school in the district to construct an organic wheelchair-accessible garden, where, to minimize water usage, the school installed a drip line watering system.  Produce from the Green Gables garden is distributed to school families, many of whom do not have access to fresh, organic foods.  Green Gables celebrates an annual walk to school day.  Before- and after-school fitness activities routinely are available to students and staff members.  Green Gables’ environmental education is project-based, integrating experiential learning with core standards.  Highlights include raising and releasing salmon, using the school garden as a living laboratory, and weaving next generation science standards into thematic units of study.  Each year fifth-grade students go to IslandWood, an outdoor education center, to learn about watersheds, water conservation, and pollution prevention under the mentorship of University of Washington graduate students.  Other field experiences include trips to Mount St. Helens, the Friends of the Issaquah Hatchery program, Sound Experience, Foss Waterways, and the West Hylebos Wetlands Park.  >>>>

Resources and Opportunities

Fuel Up To Play 60 logo

Fuel Up to Play 60 School Grants

Fuel Up to Play 60 (FUTP 60), the in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by the National Dairy Council and the National Football League, is offering grants to schools that want to jump-start healthy changes.  FUTP 60 offers grants to individual schools in amounts up to $4,000 a year.  The deadline to apply is June 13.  Qualifying schools must enroll in FUTP 60, have a registered adviser for the program, and participate in the National School Lunch Program.  Grant applicants will select one FUTP 60 “play” in both nutrition and physical activity that will be implemented using the grant funds.  Some FUTP 60 plays relate directly to the environment and to sustainability goals such as hunger>>>>

Captain Planet Logo

Captain Planet Foundation ecoTech Grants Are Due July 15

EcoTech Grants are offered to engage children in inquiry-based, STEM-related projects that leverage technology and/or use nature-based design to address environmental problems in local communities. EcoTech Grants were created to combat the notion that students needed to choose between “the screen” or “the green” and to encourage educators and students to explore the role technology can play in designing and implementing solutions to some of our most pressing environmental challenges.  They are available as cash grants up to $2,500, and support the purchase of materials and other project implementation expenses. >>>>

Project Learning Tree Logo

Apply for a GreenWorks! Environmental Education Grant by Sept. 30

Project Learning Tree offers grants of up to $1,000 to schools and youth organizations for environmental service-learning projects that link classroom learning to the real world. Students implement an action project they help design to green their school or to improve an aspect of their neighborhood’s environment.  The projects partner students with their whole school, local businesses and/or community organizations, and provide opportunities for student leadership. >>>>


Green Strides Design

The Green Strides Webinar Series Continues This Spring

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 other free webinars related to school, district, and postsecondary sustainability to for listing on the site. (Note: All times listed are ET.)

Apr. 17, 12 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 301 (EPA)

Apr. 17, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  GLOBE Atmosphere, Clouds & Contrails (NASA) 

Apr. 23, 3–4 p.m.  Recursos de NASA para el salon de clase 2 (NASA)

Apr. 25, 12–12:30 p.m.  Portfolio Manager – Ask the Expert (EPA) 

Apr. 25, 34 p.m.  Facilitating a World Climate Negotiation Simulation (AASHE)

Apr. 26, 2–3 p.m.  Preparing for EPA’s ENERGY STAR Metric Updates (EPA)

Apr. 30, 5–6 p.m.  What is Up with Earth’s Water Resources? (NASA)

May 2, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Dwarf Planets – Earth Space Science (NASA) 

May 3, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Making Waves with NASA – Optics Resources (NASA)

May 7, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Art & the Cosmic Connection across the Curriculum (NASA)

May 9, 5–6 p.m.  Survival of Organisms:  Similarities and Differences (NASA)

May 10, 6–7 p.m.  Solar System and Beyond:  Search for Life (NASA)

May 14, 5–6 p.m.  Elementary STEM:  more to Explore (NASA)

May 15, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Scale of Discovery & Cross Curriculum Integration (NASA)


endangered species day logo

Endangered Species Day is May 18

Zoos, aquariums, botanic gardens, wildlife refuges, conservation groups, national parks, museums, and schools throughout the country are holding tours, open houses, special presentations, exhibits, milkweed plantings/butterfly garden installations, habitat clean-ups/other restoration events, and children’s activities on May 18, that weekend, and throughout May. Participate in a local event or take action individually. >>>>

Get Students Outdoors and Active This June During Great Outdoors Month

June is Great Outdoors Month: a celebration of our parks and waters and the many ways to enjoy them. It's also a time to reflect on what we can do to preserve America's natural spaces for the enjoyment of future generations. Looking for ways to get kids outdoors and active?  Check out these nationwide events:  National Trails Day is June 2, Get Outdoors Day is June 9, and the Great American Campout is June 23. >>>>

Great Outdoors Month Logo
Green Apple Day of Service Logo

Plan a Green Apple Day of Service At Your School This Fall

A Green Apple Day of Service gives parents, teachers, students, companies, and local organizations the opportunity to transform all schools into healthy, safe, and productive learning environments through local service projects.  Check out project ideas, pick up helpful event resources, and register your project online.  >>>>.

Happy Earth Day

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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