June Green Strides: Get Ready for 2019

Green Strides Design


          U.S. Department of Education

   Green Strides

In the News

Green Ribbon Schools Logo

Going for a 2019 Green Ribbon?

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 a 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.  

Nipmuc Laying Down Compost
At Mendon-Upton Regional School District’s Nipmuc Regional High School, students lay down compost. School garden vegetables are used in district cafeteria salad bars and donated to the Mendon Food Bank during the summer months. The district has also partnered with the Mendon Senior Center, which lends volunteers to help students with garden maintenance.

Mendon-Upton Regional School District, Mendon, Massachusetts

Mendon-Upton Regional School District (MURSD) entered into a power purchase agreement with 2.4 million kWh of solar production generated from two ground arrays in Dighton, Massachusetts and a series of seven large solar carports on the campus of the district's middle school.  MURSD also worked with National Grid to retrofit every interior and exterior lighting fixture in the district to LED.  Between these efforts, Mendon-Upton saves approximately $132,000 in electricity costs annually.  All four schools in the district have technologically advanced HVAC and control systems that regulate heating and air ventilation to optimum comfort, quality, moisture level, and efficiency.  The district has used only green cleaning products for at least a decade. Schools implement wellness weeks and participate in Fuel Up to Play 60.  The food services department has forged a partnership with Maple Farms Sanctuary in Mendon to take food waste from school cafeterias to feed rescued farm animals.  For the past five years, the district has been a 1:1 learning district, by providing every student in grades 512 with an iPad to use.  All high school freshmen take Ecology and Populations, a class that provides project-based learning opportunities.  Students garden, go on outdoor education overnights, and have the opportunity to travel to the Amazon.  >>>>

Sewing Seeds Project
Through their Sowing Seeds project, Green Trails Elementary School students harvest, package, illustrate, research, and write planting instructions for seed packets, which are then gifted to “grandfriends” at a local senior center, and are also sold to community partners to ensure pollinator gardens are being grown throughout the community.

Green Trails Elementary School, Chesterfield, Missouri

Green Trails Elementary started by turning off lights and unplugging appliances which saved about $8,000 in a single year.  Since 2010, Green Trails has reduced energy use by 31 percent.  One project added a 25 kilowatt solar photovoltaic array on the roof of the school, which generates a little over 5 percent of the school’s energy needs.  There is a monitor in the front lobby of the school that displays the energy production levels, with the data also available on the school’s website.  In 2014, the Green Trails community came together to build a community garden with raised beds, composted soil, deer fencing, mulch, a shed, and an educational information board.  The school now has a demonstration compost station, a sandbox, a pollinator bed, a watering system, and an herb garden.  In 2015, a separate perennial fruit and berry garden was installed, and Green Trails was recognized as a Certified National Wildlife Habitat.  Examples of using school garden produce in the cafeteria include baked sweet potatoes fries or smoothies with kale.  Students have participated in tasting and cooking demonstrations such as making pesto.  After studying compost, a group of school leaders requested a demonstration worm composting bin.  The school has hosted local gardening experts for home gardening sessions open to the public.  Many families have since started their own organic gardens and pollinator beds.  When administrators raised the idea of doubling recess time outside, educators were worried that there would not be enough time to complete the academic requirements of the school day, but they quickly discovered that it was easier to teach with more focused, happier children.  >>>>

Carnation learning next to water
At Carnation Elementary School, classroom instruction is combined with direct field studies to give students a sense of place in their local environment and develop stewardship values.

Carnation Elementary School, Carnation, Washington

At Carnation Elementary School (CES), the environment is presented as a global issue that touches the local community in tangible ways.  The school partners with local agencies and organizations not only to learn about the environment, but also to work actively at improving conditions. Students have the opportunity to work with local scientists, educators, organic farmers, and specialists who impart a perspective and understanding that is personal and meaningful. Students participate in environmental studies during a multi-day and night trip.  Through citizen science programs, like the Great Backyard Bird Count, students conduct field studies and record their data.  Carnation’s student-led environmental club set up a program that collects food scraps from the school cafeteria for use as hog feed in the community. Students are also working to get filtered water bottle stations installed throughout the school building.  A major renovation was completed in 2010 in which energy-efficient systems and appliances were installed.   All bathrooms have been outfitted with automatic and low-flow fixtures. All storm drains at Carnation Elementary are stenciled with "Salmon to Sound" markings to remind students, staff, and parents to be careful of what goes into the school runoff.  The CES recycling rate is above 60 percent and, with food recycling programs currently underway, this rate is expected to climb even higher. CES offers a morning walking club; students participate in 55 minutes of recess daily; and students and staff participate in mindful minutes throughout the school day. Students participate in walking field trips that take them into the local community and ecosystem.  Off campus, students have been involved in tree plantings, river exploration and restoration, forest trail studies, and ecological presentations at the local farmers market, in addition to the releasing of salmon into local streams. >>>>

Resources and Opportunities

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.  The grants are available as cash 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 that 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 Has Promoted over 1000 Webinars to Date

The Green Strides Webinar Series has promoted over 1000 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 for additional free, publically available webinars related to school, district, and postsecondary sustainability to ed.green.ribbon.schools@ed.gov for listing. (Note: All times listed are EST.)

June 21, 2–2:30 p.m.  Adding Whole Grains to Your Menu (USDA)

June 21, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Using the Rockets Educator Guide to Teach Basic Physics (NASA)

June 22, 12 p.m.  The Value of Benchmarking Higher Education Buildings (EPA)

June 25, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  An Orientation to EPDC Digital Badging (NASA)

June 26, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Journey to Mars:  Understanding Radiation (NASA)

June 27, 12–12:30 p.m.  Portfolio Manager – Ask the Expert (EPA)

June 27, 12 p.m.  Success Stories on Hosting Energy Efficiency Competitions


June 27, 2–3 p.m.  State Report Cards and Report (Safe Routes to School National Partnership)

June 27, 3–4:30 p.m.  The Nitrogen Footprint Tool for Universities (AASHE)

June 27, 6–7 p.m.  Integrating Life Sciences (NASA) 

June 28, 3–4 p.m.  Bringing Research to Life (NAAEE)

June 28, 6–7 p.m.  Designing the Mission (NASA)

July 5, 2018, 1–2 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 101 (EPA)

July 9, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Modern Figures – OSIRIS Rex – Launch Windows (NASA)

July 12, 1–2 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 201 (EPA)

July 12, 5–6 p.m.  Explore NASA STEM Resources (NASA)

July 17, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  ISS – YES – Pressure Suits (NASA)

July 19, 1–2 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 301 (EPA)

July 18, 1–2:15 p.m.  Growing the Managers of Tomorrow’s Sustainable Urban Forests (USDA)

July 18, 3–4 p.m.  Motivating and Quantifying the Impacts of Behavior Change (AASHE)


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.  >>>>.

AASHE 2018 Conference Logo

The 2018 AASHE Conference and Expo is Oct. 25 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE’s) annual conference is the largest stage in North America to exchange effective models, policies, research, collaborations and transformative actions that advance sustainability in higher education and surrounding communities. With a theme of “Global Goals: Rising to the Challenge,” the 2018 AASHE Conference & Expo will examine the critical role of higher education in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals>>>>

NAAEE 2018 Conference Logo

The 2018 NAAEE Conference and Research Symposium is Oct. 913 in Spokane, Washington

For more than four decades, the North American Association for Environmental Education has convened one of the leading annual conferences for environmental education professionals, from classroom teachers and teacher educators, to nature center staff, to climate science researchers, and everyone in between. Averaging 1,000 participants each year, the event is designed to promote innovation, networking, learning, and the dissemination of best practices.  This year’s conference, with the theme “A Force for the Future,” is in Spokane, Washington. >>>>

Imagine A Day without Water Logo

Imagine a Day Without 

Water on Oct. 10

Imagine a Day Without Water is the fourth annual day to raise awareness and educate America about the value of water.  Millions of Americans participate in sharing a collective message through strategic channels, including television, radio, local events, social media, and digital content creation.  >>>>

Green Clean Schools Image from HSC

Green Clean Schools ISSA/INTERCLEAN Educational Facilities Track is Oct. 2930 in Dallas, Texas

This two-day program will provide facility directors at schools and universities and their teams with the knowledge and tools necessary to support healthier, safer cleaning programs that promote learning. Together with leaders in the field of green cleaning in schools, participants will examine Healthy Schools Campaign’s 5 Steps to Green Cleaning in Schools, a guide to healthier cleaning in educational facilities, through a combination of case studies, deep dives into practical applications, and panel presentations focused on new and emerging trends in the field of green cleaning in schools. >>>>

A4LE Logo

LearningSCAPES 2018 is Nov. 14 in Chicago, Illinois

Association for Learning Environment’s mission is to connect those whose passion is to create the best possible physical learning spaces that encourage innovation, critical thinking, collaborative teamwork, and other skills that will empower students to succeed in a rapidly changing world.  Its conference includes educational sessions, keynotes, and a showcase of state-of-the-art tools that move learning into the future through thoughtful school facilities.   >>>>

EDSpaces 2018 Logo

EDspaces Is Nov. 7–9 

in Tampa, Florida

EDspaces is the gathering place for architects, facility planners, designers, administrators, and dealers to learn about trends and experience the latest products and services to enhance student learning through advanced school facilities.  Leaders from school districts and colleges, architects, interior designers, dealers and exhibitors collaborate in the transformation of physical educational environments.   >>>>

Greenbuild 2018 Logo


Greenbuild 2018 Is Nov. 

14–16 in Chicago, Illinois

Greenbuild is the world's largest conference and expo dedicated to green building. It features three days of inspiring speakers, invaluable networking opportunities, industry showcases, LEED workshops, and tours of the host city's green buildings. >>>>

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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