The 2018 ED-GRS Have Arrived!

Green Strides Design


          U.S. Department of Education

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2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Announced

The 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) were announced on May 16.  See the list of selecteespress release, and a report about these schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions that are achieving sustainability gains in facilities and grounds, health and wellness, and environmental literacy.  Read this blog highlighting the actions of a few of the 2018 honorees.

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 Strides.  Read 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 eligible only 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 the 2018 Honorees

Congratulations to the 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees.  View the honorees and read about their work on the Green Strides website and ED awards page.  

University of Rhode Island LEED Gold hillside residence
University of Rhode Island (URI) has total of 11 university building projects that are LEED certified, three building projects currently in the construction phase are registered for LEED, and all future building projects are expected to achieve a minimum of LEED Silver certification.

The University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island

A land- and sea-grant university, the University of Rhode Island (URI) entered into a 12-year, $18 million performance contract with an energy services company designed to reduce its energy usage through the replacement of lighting fixtures, windows, and heating and air conditioning systems, as well as improvements to building energy management control systems.  Since 2012, URI's 185-foot research vessel, R/V Endeavor, began fueling up with refined biodiesel.  Campus bottle filling stations divert plastic water bottles from the landfill; a conversion program collects waste oil from the dining halls to make biodiesel; a composter collects food waste for on-site decomposition; and staff, students, researchers, and lab personnel receive training to improve their knowledge of safe disposal of hazardous chemical and laboratory waste. The University of Rhode Island’s Watershed Watch program has been touted as one of the best volunteer water quality monitoring programs in the country.  The Anna Fascitelli Fitness and Wellness Center, a LEED Gold certified facility, is located in the heart of URI’s residential area.  In addition to a full body circuit training line, functional and strength training areas, spin bikes, TRX suspension training, and three group exercise studios, a Wellness Resource Center on the lower level offers self-guided meditation, a massage chair, Zen board painting, jigsaw puzzles, and board games.  In dining halls, the “Catch of the Month” seafood is chosen for the menu based on what’s in season.  More than 30 undergraduate and graduate degrees offered at URI include sustainability as a learning outcome.  The minor in sustainability is offered to students of any major, with an internship that includes hands-on sustainability experience and a capstone project as requirements.  Students completing the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems program graduate with the skills and knowledge needed to contribute to the sustainable development, production, harvesting, management, and utilization of terrestrial and aquatic microorganisms, plants, and animals.  The Green Business program is geared toward students who are interested in corporate sustainability, energy efficiency, non-profit management, green marketing, renewable energy, global environmental challenges, environmental policy, and energy finance.  The “Blue MBA” program is a dual-degree program that merges the Master of Business Administration with the Master of Oceanography.   The Energy Fellows Program offers paid work experience opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in any academic major or disciplines. >>>>

Jack London CDS LA
In math at Jack London Community Day School (JLCDS), students analyze germination rates, green waste production, and pollinator counts. In science, students study botany, cultivation, propagation, adaptation, and environmental science. Across the curricula at JLCDS, teachers base their lessons on sustainability-related articles from an array of sources.

Jack London Community Day School, Valley Glen, California

Jack London Community Day School (JLCDS) is a small high school in the Los Angeles Unified School District, serving expelled students, students referred by a school attendance review board, and other high-risk youths.  At JLCDS, sustainability is not only about the environment, it’s also about empowering students to redirect their lives and learn to become positive agents of change through an ethic of environmental citizenship.  In 2013, JLCDS converted an 18,000-square-foot asphalt parking lot campus into a garden.  When the project began, there was not one square-inch of soil.  From the start, the garden has been student-built and maintained. Implicit in sustainability are the concepts of food justice, wellness, and meeting the needs of the poor, issues many JLCDS families face.  The Peace Garden serves as a small demonstration of an urban, edible garden for the community.  JLCDS practices sustainable, urban horticulture as a way to meet the needs of the 21st century and manage an increasingly urban environment.  The garden consists of 30 raised beds, two asphalt cuts, 47 fruit trees, and numerous pots.  Vegetables, herbs, berries and fruits are grown organically and the garden literally bursts through the fences.  JLCDS uses a variety of innovative, nontoxic pest management strategies that reduce the impact on the environment and biodiversity. JLCDS cultivates a blend of native plants and heirloom crops to create a diverse floristic tapestry that nurtures the life above ground, in mulch, and the soil food web below.  Composting completes the nutrient cycle.  All students participate in health walks, hiking trips, university field trips, as well as healthy mindset and decision-making workshops.  Each week, mentors provide students with a 60-minute workshop on making healthy choices.  The school participates in California Thursdays, a collaboration between the Center for Ecoliteracy and a network of public school districts to serve healthy, freshly prepared school meals made from California-grown food.  The required course of study at JLCDS includes two years of science plus two years of horticulture, and Jr. Master Gardener certification.  EcoClub capitalizes on the “natural leaders” at JLCDS, which is an apt description of many at-risk students. >>>>

Oregon Middle Hoop House
Oregon Middle School has a greenhouse and a hoop house to involve students in the process of growing the food that supplies the cafeteria with fresh produce about 10 months of the year.

Oregon Middle School, Oregon, Wisconsin

Oregon Middle School (OMS) generates 40 percent of its energy from on-site renewable sources, including geothermal and photovoltaic (PV)/solar electric.  Lights are on motion sensors and LEDs.  Low-flow plumbing fixtures are used in bathrooms.  In the cafeteria, the school implemented composting and recycling.  Outside, the school uses dripline garden watering, planted native landscaping, restored a prairie and forest, and established a food garden and fruit tree orchard. The outdoor gardens provide produce for summer school gardening and cooking programs and donations to the local food pantry.  During summer school, students grow, sell at a roadside stand, and cook produce from the garden.   No idling signs in the drop-off and pick-up loop help to encourage better air quality and reduce fuel use. Teachers of science, health, English, art, and technical education classes collaborate to advance environmental literacy and sustainability.  Students use the live data from the school’s solar panel array to see how much energy the school is generating and using.  Engineers from Department of Natural Resources, Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District, and Dane County Landfill act as guest lecturers in science and tech classes.  Students use outdoor classrooms in the prairie, forest, and food garden for many courses. Seventh grade students work on the restoration and expansion of the school forest and planted over 3,000 trees in the past three years. Since 2003, Oregon Middle School eighth grade students have partnered with the Rotary Club to support a prairie restoration at a local park.  Students remove invasive honeysuckle brush, build and maintain gravel trails, and plant nearly 2,000 native prairie grasses and forbs.  >>>>  

Resources and Opportunities

HSC Green Cleaning

Participate in National Education Facilities Cleaning Survey

Cleaning programs are a critical part of schools' and universities' efforts to provide students and staff with the opportunity to learn and work in a place that is healthy and safe. As part of a long-term effort, Healthy Schools Campaign and ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association, are surveying schools and universities across the country to better understand what they are doing and determine the type of resources and tools schools need. The survey will take less than 15 minutes to complete and participants will be entered into a drawing. The deadline to complete the survey is June 15.  >>>>

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Fuel Up to Play 60 School Grants

Fuel Up to Play 60 (FUTP 60), the in-school nutrition and physical activity program offered 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.  Some FUTP 60 activities relate directly to food waste and 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 of up to $2,500, and support the purchase of materials and other project implementation expenses. >>>>

Project Learning Tree Green Works Logo

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

Project Learning Tree offers grants 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 additional free, publically available webinars related to school, district, and postsecondary sustainability to for listing. (Note: All times listed are EST.)

May 22, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Solar System and Beyond:  JUNO to Jupiter (NASA)

May 23, 2–3 p.m.  2018 ENERGY STAR Partners of the Year (EPA)

May 23, 3–4 p.m.  Qualitative Data to Measure Zero Waste Efforts (AASHE)

May 24, 6–7 p.m.  Solar System and Beyond:  Exploring New Planets (NASA)

May 30, 3–4 p.m.  Grappling with Climate Uncertainties:  MIT’s Resiliency Approach (AASHE)

June 5, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Journey to Mars:  BEST Rover & Engineering Design (NASA)

June 6, 3–4 p.m.  The Decolonization of Curriculum for a Sustainable Future (AASHE)

June 6, 6–7 p.m.  National Marine Sanctuaries Webinar Series:  Dolphin Tales (NOAA)

June 12, 1–2 p.m.  Engaging Students with Disabilities in Safe Routes (Safe Routes to School National Partnership)

June 12, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Journey to Mars:  Rocketry (NASA)

June 14, 12 p.m.  Middle of Summer Strategies (USDA)

June 20, 12 p.m.  Preparing for EPA’s ENERGY STAR Metric Updates (EPA)

June 20, 3–4:30 p.m.  Making your Campus a Bee Campus USA Affiliate (AASHE)


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. >>>>

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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.  >>>>.

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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