February Green Strides Newsletter

Green Strides Design


          U.S. Department of Education

   Green Strides

In the February 2019 Green Strides...

In the News

Green Ribbon Schools Logo

28 States Submitted Nominations For U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools

Twenty-eight states submitted 58 nominees to U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) by the Feb. 15 deadline.  The 2019 federal review is underway. ED will announce the 2019 cohort in the spring, notifying honorees via email.  The institutions' names will appear on the ED website and in a press release.  Honored institutions will be invited to send representatives to a fall recognition ceremony in Washington, D.C. 

For institutions that have not already been honored (this is a one-time award), now is a great time to begin preparing for the 2020 application cycle by using resources and programs on Green Strides and to contact your state authority. For future cycles, 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 more information.  >>>>

Penny Taylor 2018 Director's Award Recipient

The 2019 ED-Green Ribbon Schools Director’s Award: Nominations Due March 1

The Director’s Award recognizes state education authorities’ exemplary efforts to administer U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS).  Annually, the Director’s Award goes to the state education official who does the most to advance sustainable education in his or her state. If you wish to nominate a state education official, please send your nomination letter to ed.green.ribbon.schools@ed.gov by March 1.  Any state education official who is involved in implementing the ED-GRS award and who has not already won the Director’s Award is eligible for nomination.  Read about the work of past ED-GRS Director’s Award recipients. >>>>

Meet the 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools

In a few months, we will be announcing the 2019 cohort.  Until then, continue to learn from 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 on the ED awards page.  Three of the honorees are spotlighted below.  

Legacy Elementary Big Fish Lesson

During Legacy Elementary School’s Big Fish in a Little Pond at the school’s on-site outdoor classroom, Project Pond, fifth grade students teach third grade students about erosion and its effects on natural habitats. Project Pond is an integral part of daily learning at Legacy.

Legacy Elementary School, Madison, Alabama

Through Legacy Elementary School's Project Pond, students learn about and explore the habitats of the animals that make their home at the pond while also learning how to maintain the pond’s natural environment.  Pond workdays are an extension of the school day to build student ownership and environmental responsibility.  Legacy welcomes annually wildlife biologists from the Alabama Wildlife Federation to the pond, where they provide casting and fishing lessons.  Legacy has installed energy-efficient light bulbs, water-bottle filling stations, and solar panels.  Administrators have seen to it that the playground equipment is chemical-free, and Legacy takes leaks seriously, responding immediately to prevent mold issues.  Fifth graders visit the McDowell Environmental Center, where they experience a real “farm to table.”  Students participate in a water festival at the University of Alabama-Huntsville annually, where they learn about the importance of water and its relationship to precious wetlands, ponds, rivers, and other natural water resources.  Legacy has an active recycling program, and takes it further by visiting the solid waste disposal and recyclery where waste is incinerated and recycled, and converted to power.  Legacy uses GreenpowerUSA’s engineering challenge, Project WET, and Project WILD to support environmental and sustainability learning.  >>>>

Weyerhauser Elementary Planting

Weyerhaeuser Elementary School students plant vegetables together. The school is in a rural area, miles from any town, and is surrounded by woodlands and open spaces, with an eight-acre outdoor classroom serving as the natural laboratory centerpiece.

Weyerhaeuser Elementary School, Eatonville, Washington

A grant-funded upgrade of the Weyerhaeuser Elementary School (WES) included a comprehensive energy audit and new HVAC system with occupancy controls.  All WES classrooms have doors that open to the outside and large, energy-efficient windows that let natural light in.  Students and staff employ refillable water bottles, implement a food-sharing program in the cafeteria that donates excess to a local agency, and recycle extensively.  WES is active in a farm to school network sponsored by the state department of agriculture.  WES participates in the Fuel Up to Play 60 nutrition and physical activity program, and offers a morning mileage club.  Students partake in a full 60 minutes of recess daily, and engage in brain breaks in the classroom.  WES is served by its own well, which is regularly sampled and tested for contaminants.  Wildcat Woods, the Weyerhaeuser outdoor education area, includes forest and seasonal wetlands.  Students are outside in this learning space daily.  Two seasonal freshwater streams flow through the campus, providing students with the opportunity to participate in water testing; studies of rocks, minerals, and macroinvertebrates; and streamflow observations.  The Center for Sustainable Forestry at Pack Forest and Mt. Rainier National Park are nearby opportunities to engage in hands-on learning about forest ecology, sustainable forestry, and glacial and volcanic activity.  >>>>

Gateway Technical College Bee Barn

The Center for Sustainable Living, a 1,884-square-foot house, outbuildings, and gazebo provides a living and learning laboratory for students and enables outreach to the community, including K-12 school districts. A bee barn allows visitors a closer look at the creatures that play a huge role in the food system.

Gateway Technical College, Kenosha, Wisconsin

Since 2009, Gateway Technical College has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 25 percent.  Every Gateway campus includes some form of renewable energy and all new buildings and expansions are constructed to LEED Silver standards.  Gateway has installed efficient LED lighting in all remodels and retrofits.  New landscapes use drought-tolerant species, and some areas have been converted into native prairie.  One building has a 4,100-square-foot green roof designed to mitigate runoff.  Preferred hybrid car parking spaces are available at all facilities.  All campuses have bicycle racks and two have been connected to city bicycle pathways.  A green printing initiative reduced the amount of printer paper purchased by over 50 percent.  Outdoor learning areas include an arboretum, horticulture center, a student-run urban farm, and nature trail. The college offers degrees and certificates in arboriculture and urban forestry, horticulture, fresh water resources, environmental studies, sustainable design, and urban farming.  Green Scholars provides students the opportunity to learn about sustainability, get involved in sustainable efforts, and earn recognition when they graduate. The sustainable living student group practices renew, reuse, refuse, reduce, and recycle concepts.  Gateway’s summer camp program includes two week-long sessions with environmental themes.  More than a thousand attend Gateway-sponsored annual community celebrations designed to share information and engage residents in adopting more sustainable lifestyles.  >>>>

Resources and Opportunities

Green Strides Design

Consult the Improved Green Strides Website

Launched in 2015, with the generous collaboration of the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council, Green Strides is ED’s portal for sustainable school resources. The main feature of the site, the Green Strides sustainable resource library, features a comprehensive collection of national and state-specific green school programs, as well as tools and best practice resources. The resource library has recently been updated with even more case studies, toolkits, reports, operational policies, and program opportunities that your school or district may wish to reference in its greening efforts. The site also features a map of all the ED-GRS honorees and a webinar calendar.  Check out the updated site here.  >>>>


Green Strides Design

The Green Strides Webinar Series Continues Through Winter


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 ed.green.ribbon.schools@ed.gov. (Note: All times listed are ET.)

Feb. 21, 12–1:15 p.m.  Innovative Engagement Strategies:  Climate Change Resilience (NAAEE)

Feb. 21, 3–4:30 p.m.  Exploring Real-World Data in the Classroom and Beyond! (NAAEE)

Feb. 21, 6–7 p.m.  Space Food and Nutrition (NASA)

Feb. 25, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Explore Humans in Space:  Microgravity (NASA)

Feb. 27, 1–1:30 p.m.  Best Practices for Benchmarking Your Building (EPA)

March 4, 5–6 p.m.  Space Place:  Science and Technology (NASA)

March 13, 3–4 p.m.  The WaterHub at Emory – A Case Study for Water ReUse (NASA)

March 13, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Explore Space Tech:  Gateway Power for Exploration (NASA)

March 27, 7:30–8:30 p.m.  Easy, Local Bird-focused Citizen Science (Green Teacher)

March 28, 5–6 p.m.  Space Communication – Speaking in Phases (NASA)



Green Schools Conference & Expo Registration Continues

The 2019 Green Schools Conference & Expo (GSCE) will be held April 8–9 at the Saint Paul RiverCentre in St. Paul, Minnesota, and is colocated with IMPACT, USGBC's regional Midwest sustainability conference.  GSCE is the only national event to bring together all of the players involved in making green schools a reality: people who lead, operate, build, and teach in U.S. schools.  Attendees engage in hands-on learning, participate in in-depth discussions and problem solving, and get inspired by speakers at the forefront of connecting sustainability, social justice, and education.  Green Schools National Network members receive early-bird pricing regardless of when they register. >>>>

Children and Nature Logo

Children and Nature Network 2019 International Conference Registration Continues

Join the Children and Nature Network for the largest gathering of children and nature advocates in the world, May 16–18 in Oakland, California. From inspiring keynotes to hands-on workshops, this biennial conference will inspire and equip you with best practices for increasing equitable access to nature for the children, families, and communities you serve.  >>>>

NAAEE Conference Slider

Save the Date for North American Association for Environmental Education Annual Conference 

The 48th North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) annual conference will be held in Lexington, Kentucky Oct. 15–19.  For more than four decades, NAAEE has convened one of the leading annual conferences for environmental education professionals, designed to promote innovation, networking, learning, and dissemination of best practices. The annual Research Symposium, held in advance of the conference, attracts new and established researchers to examine in-progress environmental education research and promote dialogue between researchers and practitioners.  >>>>

Park Avenue Elementary School kindergarten students are on the lookout for signs of spring.

Park Avenue Elementary School kindergarten students are on the lookout for signs of spring. The Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation provides training to Park Avenue teachers on integrating environmental and sustainability themes in all curricular areas.

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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