April Green Strides Newsletter

Green Strides Design


          U.S. Department of Education

   Green Strides

In the April 2019 Green Strides...

In the News

Green Ribbon Schools Logo

2019 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools to Be Announced this May!

U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) is a federal recognition award for school sustainability.  Schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions that are achieving sustainability gains in facilities and grounds, health and wellness, and environmental literacy that wish to be honored may apply to their state education authorities each fall. 

The 2019 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, ED's eighth cohort, will be posted on May 22.  Selectees will be informed via email and receive an invitation to send representatives to a ceremony in the fall. Then, we'll be sharing some of their innovative practices all year long.

For schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions not yet honored, now is a great time to begin preparing for the 2020 application cycle by using resources and programs on Green Strides and by contacting your state education authority.  Interested colleges and universities should contact their 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.  Review Frequently Asked Questions on all three award categories. State education authorities can contact U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools for more information.   >>>>

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

In a few weeks, we'll be announcing the 2019 cohort.  Until then, here are a few more of the 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees.  

Students at Arlington Public Schools’ Brackett Elementary School gather pumpkins after Halloween

Students at Arlington Public Schools’ Brackett Elementary School gather pumpkins after Halloween.

Arlington Public Schools, Arlington, Massachusetts

Arlington Public Schools (APS) works to reduce environmental impact through a variety of initiatives, including composting food waste; solar panels on six of nine school buildings; installation of efficient natural gas boilers; LED exterior lighting; kitchen and steam trap upgrades; installation of energy management systems; and school rebuilds. The high school rebuild project is a net-zero energy design. There are many efforts in the APS district that address the nutrition, fitness, mindfulness, and overall health of students and staff, including a daily snack program, a girls running club, heart rate monitors for ninth graders, mindfulness programs; a diabetic care coordinator; and social and emotional learning. The high school offers a standard and AP environmental science class, as well as classes in astronomy, oceanography, current issues, and public policy that address environmental topics.  The district has recently lent support to a sustainability coordinator position, lunchroom composting, textile recycling, and school gardening.  >>>>

Warner Elementary students oversee lunchroom recycling collection

Warner Elementary students oversee lunchroom recycling collection.

Emalea P. Warner Elementary School, Wilmington, Delaware

Emalea P. Warner Elementary School has gone from a school that did not recycle at all, to one that makes recycling a top priority.  With recently upgraded automatic and low-flow bathroom fixtures and water bottle filling stations, Warner scores a 99 on ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. The school garden produces hundreds of pounds of vegetables a year, which are served to students and neighbors.  Warner partners with the American Lung Association of Delaware in providing the Open Airways for Schools program for asthma self-management.  Students are engaged in outdoor learning through the garden, recycling club, and ecosystems field work.  Eighty-nine percent of students ride a bus to school.  Warner has a no idling policy; the vehicle loading and unloading area is much more than 25 feet away from any building air intakes, doors, or windows; air quality is evaluated every six months and as needed; air filters are replaced a minimum of every 30 days; and neutral cleaning products are used.  Warner participates in the Delaware Pathways to Green Schools and National Wildlife Federation’s Eco Schools USA programs to achieve its sustainable school aims.  >>>>

Wolcott School garden

Assisting at local non-profit Big Delicious Planet, a Wolcott student learned about gardening. This experience, along with a food documentary in health class, inspired her to found a school garden.

Wolcott School, Chicago, Illinois

Wolcott School was completely rehabbed five years ago thanks to a three year, $13.3 million fundraising campaign to update the facility, which was built in 1926.  The award-winning building design is LEED Gold certified and now features a community garden and solar panels to support hands-on curriculum. The school uses LED and motion-sensored lighting; low-flow bathroom fixtures; rain barrels and a compost bin in the garden; and energy-efficient water fountains.  Wolcott uses humidity monitors and dehumidifiers to ensure moisture levels are being managed properly; only allows food in the multipurpose room to prevent pests; and uses only environmentally preferable cleaning products.  The school offers shuttle bus transportation to and from the major commuter rail stations in Chicago.  Students visit Method, a soap company with a local plant recognized for being a sustainable green product facility.  Students are exposed to green building technologies and the school’s solar panels in their science, engineering, and environmental science courses, as well as in the school gardening club.  Students participate annually in Green Apple Day of Service >>>>

Resources and Opportunities

Brooklyn Salad Bar

Salad Bar Grants for Schools

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that kids with access to a salad bar in their school cafeteria consume 33 percent more fruits and vegetables than students without access to a salad bar. Salad bars are a viable component of a federally reimbursed school lunch. Whole Kids Foundation and Salad Bars to Schools offer grants valued at $3,147 for one freestanding, mobile salad bar. This includes everything a school needs to get started and can last for 10 years.  Any district or school participating in the National School Lunch Program is eligible to apply.   >>>>


Green Strides Design

The Green Strides Webinar Series Continues Through Spring

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 EDT.)

April 23, 1–2 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 301 (EPA)

April 24, 12–12:30 p.m.  Portfolio Manager – Ask the Expert (EPA)

April 25, 12–12:30 p.m.  Certification Eligibility Rules to Follow for an Accurate Application (EPA)

April 25, 4–5 p.m.  Update on the Health and Education Landscape (Healthy Schools Campaign)

April 29, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Moon to Mars Resource Overview (NASA)

April 30, 1–2 p.m.  ENERGY STAR Guide for Licensed Professionals (EPA)

April 30, 3–4 p.m.  Collecting Household Income Data (Food Research & Action Center)

May 1, 12–12:30 p.m.  Portfolio Manager – Ask the Expert (EPA)

May 1, 3–4 p.m.  Enhancing Campus Curricula and Sustainability through UN Sustainable Development Goals (AASHE)

May 7, 1–2:15 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 101 (EPA)

May 8, 2–3 p.m.  Fuel for Active Bodies:  Increasing Access to Healthy Foods (America Walks)

May 8, 5–6 p.m.  Solar System Exploration:  Teaching Project Based Learning (NASA)

May 13, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  Moon to Mars Resource Overview (NASA)

May 14, 1–2: p.m.  Portfolio Manager 201 (EPA)

May 15, 12–12:30 p.m.  Portfolio Manager – Ask the Expert (EPA)

May 15, 2–3:30 p.m.  How to Apply for ENERGY STAR Certification (EPA)

May 15, 3–4 p.m.  Reaching Beyond the Green Population (AASHE)

May 16, 2–2:30 p.m.  Using the WIC Food List to Identify Creditable Foods in the CACFP (USDA)

May 21, 1–2 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 301 (EPA)

May 21, 5–6 p.m.  NASA STEM Problem Solving:  Human Space Exploration (NASA)

May 21, 6–7 p.m.  Estimating Coral Feeding Habits from Space (National Marine Sanctuaries)


Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month

May Is Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month

Each year, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) declares May to be National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.  Asthma affects approximately 25.9 million Americans and more than 50 million Americans suffer from all types of allergies. AAFA offers tools to bring healthy messages to work, school and home.  >>>>

Endangered species day

Endangered Species Day is May 17

Endangered Species Day is an opportunity for people of all ages to learn about the importance of protecting endangered species and everyday actions they can take to help protect them. On May 17, that weekend, and throughout May, zoos, aquariums, botanic gardens, wildlife refuges, conservation groups, national parks, museums, and schools throughout the country are holding tours, open houses, special presentations, exhibits, milkweed plantings/butterfly garden installations, habitat clean-ups and other restoration events, and children’s activities. Participate in a local event or take action individually!  >>>>

Better Buildings Logo

U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Summit Is July 10–11

This annual event will be held at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia, for partners and other key stakeholders.  The summit provides the opportunity for professionals to explore emerging technologies and share innovative strategies in energy and water efficiency. Attendees can expect two days of interactive sessions with industry experts and market leaders, as well as many opportunities to network with peers.  >>>>

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, from October 15–19.  For more than four decades, NAAEE has convened one of the leading annual conferences for environmental education professionals. The conference is 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. >>>>

Safe Routes to School Logo

Save the Date for Safe Routes to School National Conference

The Safe Routes to School National Conference will be held at the Hilton Tampa Downtown from November 12–14. Save the date for this opportunity to join hundreds of active transportation and public health advocates and practitioners from across the country for valuable networking, sharing of best practices, and exploring one of Florida’s most vibrant and active cities. >>>>

Happy Earth Day

Connect With Green Strides

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U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools
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