August Green Strides

Green Strides Design


          U.S. Department of Education

   Green Strides

In the August Green Strides...

In the News

Green Ribbon Schools Logo

Join Us on the 2018 Green Strides Tour in Missouri

ED-GRS and its Green Strides outreach initiative share promising practices and resources in the areas of safe, healthy, and sustainable school environments; nutrition and outdoors physical activity; and environmental education.  As part of its Green Strides outreach, ED conducts an annual tour intended to spotlight the work of past and present honorees, and bring more attention to their practices.  This year’s tour will take place Oct. 24–25 in St. Louis area schools.  

The tour will highlight how schools can use their grounds in hands-on, project-based learning, and citizen science to teach an array of content areas, the joy of physical activity in the outdoors, as well as the benefits of nutritious, school-garden-grown produce.  See the full schedule and register to attend.  >>>>

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.  Watch them receive their awards on Facebook live on Sept. 19 at 2 p.m. ET.

Gove Elementary Outdoor Learning Labs
Outdoor learning labs at Gove Elementary School increase the quantity and quality of outdoor time for students. From left to right are the school’s Recycled Gator Hole, information station with weather-resistant lesson plans, and butterfly houses for observation and documentation.

Gove Elementary School, Belle Glade, Florida

Gove Elementary landscaping includes native species, retention ponds, and cisterns for edible garden irrigation.  Gove has reduced energy use by 74 percent and water needs by 57 percent in just two years.  The student Recycle Club is committed to educating peers and staff about recycling.  The administration rewards carpoolers with designated parking spots.  Despite the challenge of being nestled in sugar cane fields that are burned seasonally, Gove Elementary School has been recognized as an Asthma-Friendly School through the American Lung Association.  The school’s Positive Behavior Intervention Support Team promotes the interconnectedness of the environment, safety, and wellness.  Gove was the first school in the Glades to implement a fruit-and-vegetable daily snack program.  There is a vegetable and herb garden on campus, which inspires students to make healthy eating choices.  All Gove students in kindergarten through sixth grade participate in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) classes that engage students in projects such as building historical and current relief maps of the Florida Everglades; creating Everglade model habitats using upcycled materials, and participating in “ECO-dramas” to reenact how alligators are keystone species.  The school butterfly garden is an ideal setting to learn about a variety of topics across the curriculum. The garden has also proven to be an excellent setting for teaching teamwork, empathy, respect, and responsibility, and for building confidence and pride.   >>>>

Water Quality Monitoring
TTUSD students know that water quality is an important part of forest and watershed health. For this reason, monitoring local water quality is a regular service-learning project.

Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, Truckee, California

Tahoe Truckee Unified School District (TTUSD) works with local nonprofit Sierra Watershed Education Partnerships (SWEP) to offer comprehensive watershed education and service learning. The first Sustainability Club in TTUSD was started in 2010; by 2013, these clubs were introduced across all sites.  TTUSD has a certified energy manager; the district’s first green building project was built in 2005; and all current projects are designed to LEED Silver standards.  Efforts to reduce water use include using reclaimed water for bus washing, installing smart irrigation controllers, fitting restrooms with low-flow fixtures, making auto-off nozzles standard on all hoses, putting in drip irrigation in most landscaping areas, and implementing a leak detection program.  Salad bars using locally grown produce are at all sites.  A projectbased learning program includes both River Ecology and Marine Biology courses.  In the Winter Discovery Program, students visit a snow school up to three times within three months for different winter ecology lessons.  They cross-country ski for an hour and then do a winter ecology lesson with a SWEP instructor in a heated yurt with tables, chairs, monitors, and microscopes.  At the annual Earth Day event in Squaw Valley, over 200 hundred TTUSD students share sustainability efforts that schools are making in the areas of energy, waste, and water conservation; run educational outreach booths; lead musical performances; and put on a popular Trashion Show.  >>>>

Southside Student Tends to Plant
A Southside student takes great pride in a plant she has grown from seedling.

Southside Occupational Academy High School, Chicago, Illinois

Southside Occupational Academy is a vocational school of 270 special needs students between the ages of 16 and 22 on Chicago’s south side.  The horticulture class there uses the outside space for gardening various ornamental plants as well as fruits and vegetables.  The custodial course uses green cleaning materials, and includes a landscaping unit, where native plants are used to create rain gardens.  The lawn is maintained by students, who rake the clippings for mulching the school orchard or adding to the growing vermicomposting program.  The agriculture course has students planting trees, perennial bulbs and grasses, and native pollinator habitats.  In carpentry lab, students have constructed honey bee hives for campus, in addition to raising a poultry coop that houses a combined 50 chickens and ducks, and produces over a dozen eggs a day that are used by the culinary lab or sold to fund additional programs.  Public transportation is the best way for students to get from place to place while also helping the environment.  Three times a day, teachers read or play a meditative video or script for students.  Culinary arts, health, and physical education classes all contribute to physical and mental health.  The importance of respecting the environment is incorporated into every class at Southside.  This fortification of environmental literacy incorporated throughout the curriculum has established a culture of young environmental stewards, as well as kind and compassionate young adults  >>>>

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 to complete an educational activity, and download and print the paper pass voucher.  Some state parks are also honoring the pass>>>>

Recycle Bowl

Recycle-Bowl and America Recycles Day Open Registration

Keep America Beautiful offers two fall events to educate and engage school communities. School registration opened Aug. 6 for the Recycle-Bowl (Oct. 15–Nov. 15) competition or to register an America Recycles Day (Nov. 15) event.  >>>>

Stop School Pests

Spotlight on a Resource:  Stop School Pests

Stop School Pests is an online training and professional development course for K–12 employees to reduce pests and pesticides, and improve school health for children and staff by using an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach. Individualized online training, in addition to a general IPM Basics training, is available for facility managers, maintenance staff, administrative staff, teachers, food service staff, custodial staff, landscape and grounds staff, and school nurses. The website is hosted by the IPM Institute of America with support from the North Central IPM Center and the National Education Association, and can be used by anyone wishing to learn more about how IPM can improve school health.  Participants receive a certificate for taking the training after a short quiz at the end of the module. >>>> 


2019 Green Schools Conference and Expo Calls for Proposals

The Green Schools Conference and Expo (GSCE) is now accepting session proposals for the 2019 conference, to be held April 8–9, 2019, in St. Paul, Minnesota, in partnership with IMPACT, a regional sustainability conference. Proposals are being accepted under four categories: environmental impact, health and well-being, environmental and sustainability literacy, and whole school/district sustainability. Session proposals must be submitted online by Monday Sept. 24 at 11:59 p.m. CST. >>>>


Registration for EPA Campus RainWorks Challenge Opens in September

The Campus RainWorks Challenge engages with postsecondary students to foster a dialogue about stormwater management and showcase the environmental, economic, and social benefits of green infrastructure practices. The student teams design an innovative green infrastructure project for their campus that effectively manages stormwater pollution while benefiting the campus community and the environment. Participating teams must email their entries to by Dec. 14.  >>>>

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 Through the Fall

The Green Strides Webinar Series has promoted over 1,000 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 listing additional free, publically available webinars related to school, district, and postsecondary sustainability to (Note: All times listed are EST.)

Aug. 23, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  NASA Educational Resources for Teaching Life Skills  (NASA)

Aug. 28, 5–6 p.m.  The Importance of Fresh Water (NASA)

Aug. 29, 1–2:30 p.m.  ENERGY STAR Scores and Metrics after the 9/26 Updates (EPA)

Aug. 30, 1–2 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 301 (EPA)

Aug. 30, 6–7 p.m.  Robotics on a Budget (NASA)

Sept. 4, 1–2:30 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 101 (EPA)

Sept. 5, 3–4 p.m.  Professional Skills in Sustainability (AASHE)

Sept. 5, 6–7 p.m.  From Earth to the Moon (NASA)

Sept. 6, 5–6 p.m.  Solving STEM Problems with Field Study and Data Collection (NASA)

Sept. 11, 1–2 p.m.  Energy Treasure Hunts (EPA)

Sept. 11, 2–3 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 201 (EPA)

Sept. 12, 3–4:20 p.m.  The Climate-Friendly Global Academic Conference with a Human Touch (AASHE)

Sept. 13, 1–2 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 301 (EPA)

Sept. 13, 3–4 p.m.  Creating a Participatory School Nutrition Program (FRAC)

Sept. 17, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Using Earth Observations to Talk about Snow and Ice (NASA)

Sept. 18, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  An Orientation to EPDC Digital Badging (NASA)

Sept. 19, 1–2 p.m.  Saving Water in Restrooms with WaterSense (EPA)

Sept. 19, 3–4 p.m.  How to Build the Best Bike Share Program for your Campus (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 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 to be Held 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 EE: 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 on Nov. 14 in Chicago, Illinois

Association for Learning Environments ’ mission is to connect those whose passion is to create the best possible physical learning spaces for  encouraging innovation, critical thinking, collaborative teamwork, and other skills in order to 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 to be Held 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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