July Green Strides

Green Strides Design


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In the July 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 and will be honored at a Sept. 19 ceremony in Washington, DC.  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 post highlighting the actions of a few of the 2018 honorees.

If your institution has not already been recognized as a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School, now is a great time to begin preparing for the 2019 application cycle by using the resources and programs available on Green Strides.  Read some common misconceptions about the award dispelled in a blog post by the director and review frequently asked questions on all three award categories  Schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions are eligible only if nominated by state authorities.  Interested colleges and universities should contact their state higher education authorities, while schools and districts should contact their state education agenciesState education authorities can find award criteria and other state implementation guidance on ED's website and should email U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools for information.   >>>>

Meet the 2018 ED-GRS Awardees

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.  Three of the honorees are spotlighted below.

Drew Charter
The Drew Elementary Academy serves approximately 1,000 students in a building that was constructed in 1999. The Junior and Senior Academy serves about 750 students in a building that was constructed in 2014 and acquired LEED Gold certification.

Charles R. Drew Charter School, Atlanta, Georgia

Charles R. Drew Charter School (Drew) opened in 2000 as Atlanta’s first public charter school and is an integral part of a holistic neighborhood revitalization.  The Junior and Senior Academy building is home to an environmental dashboard that gives real-time data on the amount of water and electricity used, along with the amount of solar power captured by the panels on the building’s roof (roughly 15 percent of the school’s energy needs).  Drew’s long school day and extensive after-school program offerings mean parents are only making one commute in the morning and one commute in the evening.  Drew’s charter gives preference to families living in the surrounding community, making it more feasible for them to walk or bike to school.  Physical education offerings include tennis, golf, PE, health, dance, and swimming. An affordable and well-attended after-school program offers martial arts, yoga, dance, capoeira, flag football, soccer, sports conditioning, and golf.  Past health and wellness events have included fresh produce tastings, cooking demos, on-site farmers markets, meditation days, and staff wellness events.  Drew offers a full-time school nurse and at least two guidance counselors on each campus, and a full-time social worker for the Pre-K–12  student body.  By teaching all subjects and standards through a real-world project, Drew incorporates community involvement, the school facility and grounds, lessons on the use of finite resources, and local experts into its instruction.  Every student at the Elementary Academy (K–5) will take an environmental education enrichment course, and, at the Junior and Senior Academy, students have the opportunity to take an environmental science class.  Both campuses house learning gardens that are used for instruction, tastings, and curricular support.  >>>>

Gustavus Adolphus Solar
Gustavus Adolphus College installs solar panels on a shed in the Big Hill Farm student garden, also home to a greenhouse.

Gustavus Adolphus College, Saint Peter, Minnesota

Gustavus Adolphus College's (GAC) signature, yearly Nobel Conference on science has focused on the environment, energy, water, food, and oceans, and will add themes of soil and climate change to the list in the immediate future.  In the 1970s, the college dedicated a portion of its land to form the Linnaeus Arboretum, which has become a venue for environmental reflection and learning for students, staff, and the public.  With a full-time naturalist on staff, the “Arb,” hosts programs for elementary school students and their families, college students, and senior citizens.  The two most recent major construction projects on campus have resulted in LEED Platinum and Gold certification. The college maintains two solar electric arrays, three large solar thermal arrays, and a small wind turbine. In 2013, the college began an onsite composting effort for all pre- and post-consumer food waste from dining services and is exploring ways to extend this to food waste generated in residence halls and other buildings.  The “Gus Bus” shuttle brings students to and from downtown Saint Peter businesses and Gusties on the Go offers free loaner bikes on campus. The dining service is à la carte and offers reusable take-out containers to reduce waste and encourage better food choices.   Student organizations like the Gustavus Greens and the Climate Justice Coalition and staff collaborate to create lasting institutional efforts such as GAC’s Fair Trade Campus designation and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification.  The environmental studies program draws on faculty from nine different academic departments, ranging from anthropology to physics.  Students have the opportunity to participate in January term classes like Introduction to Renewable Energy, and elective courses like Local Food Production. Several study abroad programs focus on sustainability topics.  A religion and ecology course engages students in learning about the environmental perspectives and activities of diverse faith communities.  >>>>

Manchester Valley High School Clean Up
Manchester Valley High School students clean up an outdoor space on school grounds during National Honor Society Student Service Day.

Manchester Valley High School, Manchester, Maryland

Beyond its solar skylit hallways, geothermal heating and cooling systems, and student-generated “turn off the lights” mini-posters, Manchester Valley High School (MVHS) has come together to create a model for reduction in environmental impact and cost within Carroll County Public Schools.  Through administrative, staff, and student-driven efforts to reduce paper waste by promoting digital curricula, recycling, and composting programs, Manchester Valley has reduced landfill waste by more than 50 percent.   Science and agriculture programs incorporate hydroponics, aquaponics, and rain barrels to conserve water.  Meticulous state department of health inspectors, a school safety sommittee, interdepartmental safety inspections, and even student data-keeping play active roles in assessing school indoor air quality.  From fundraising walks like Relay for Life, to supporting Special Olympics athletes, to community races, to the Polar Bear Plunge, the school community makes its miles count.  All educators are encouraged to bring their classes outside.  School grounds include two outdoor classrooms, a 10,400 square foot pollinating garden, a wetland designated as an endangered bog turtle habitat, a system of wooded hiking and streamside trails, and a “no-mow zone” wildflower area.  Environmental literacy is a systemic collaboration that extends beyond isolated curricular islands: World history classes require research on non-native species and habitats; 10th-grade English classes incorporate agriculture in argumentative writing; physical education classes have included trash and recycle clean-up activities; and technology classes design and test wind-generated electric technologies.  >>>>

Resources and Opportunities

Every Kid in A Park Logo

Every Kid in A Park Continues for Fourth Year

Every Kid in a Park encourages stewardship of public lands by introducing children and underserved communities to park sites, forests, and seashores, as well as recreational opportunities within these spaces.  The program provides free passes to fourth-graders and their accompanying families to access hundreds of parks, lands, and waters for a year. To obtain a pass, a fourth-grader should get an adult’s permission, and then visit www.everykidinapark.gov to complete an educational activity, and download and print the paper pass voucher.  Some state parks are also honoring the pass>>>>

Project Learning Tree Green Works 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 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 Continues This Summer

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 ET.)

July 24, 2–3 p.m.  Leveraging Nutrition Programs in Disasters (USDA)

July 24, 2–3 p.m.  Safe Access to Parks (Safe Routes to School National Partnership)

July 24, 3–4 p.m.  New Ideas for Sustainability, Social Theories, and More (NAAEE)

July 24, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  ISS:  Mass vs Weight (NASA)

July 25, 1212:30 p.m.  Portfolio Manager – Ask the Expert (EPA)

July 25, 3–4 p.m.  Natural Herbicides:  For a Greener Campus Environment (AASHE)

July 25, 5–6 p.m.  A Day in the Life on Board the ISS (NASA)

July 25, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Math in Search for Life Beyond Earth (NASA) 

July 30, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Environmental Control and Life Support Systems – Life Science (NASA)

July 31, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Dark Matter and Energy – Physical Science (NASA)

Aug. 1, 3–4 p.m.  Accelerating Change through the President’s Sustainability Research Program (AASHE)

Aug. 2, 1–2:30 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 101 (EPA)

Aug. 2, 2–3 p.m.  Indigenous Foods in Early Care and Education Settings (USDA)

Aug. 6, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Detecting Exoplanets (NASA)

Aug. 7, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Characteristics of Planets – Earth and Space Science (NASA)

Aug. 8, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Technology Drives Exploration:  Drag Devices (NASA)

Aug. 9, 1–2 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 201 (EPA)

Aug. 14, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Technology Drives Exploration:  Thermal Protection (NASA)

Aug. 15, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  X-rays on Earth and from Space (NASA)

Aug. 16, 2–3 p.m.  Top 10 Most Under-used ENERGY STAR Resources (EPA)

Aug. 21, 1–2 p.m.  ENERGY STAR and Green Building Rating Systems (EPA)

Aug. 21, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Solar Sail (NASA)

Aug. 22, 3–4 p.m.  Herding Cats?  Tried and Tested Behaviour Change Methods (AASHE)

Aug. 23, 6–7 p.m.  The Spread and Ecology of an Invasive Seaweed (NOAA)


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 the theme 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. >>>>

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 LearningSCAPES 2018 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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