The Green Strides Tour Special Edition

Green Strides Design


          U.S. Department of Education

   Green Strides

In the November Green Strides...

In the News

Oak Harbor PS Bottle cap art

Students at Hillcrest Elementary in Oak Harbor Public Schools (Washington) repurpose plastic bottle caps into elaborate and functional works of art.

The Green Strides Tour Celebrates Whole Child, Whole School Sustainability in Washington

U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (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 outdoor physical activity; and environmental education.  As part of its Green Strides outreach, ED conducts an annual tour to spotlight the work of past and present honorees and bring more attention to their practices.

ED-GRS director Andrea Falken and Washington Office of Public Instruction director of environmental literacy Elizabeth Schmitz, accompanied by various federal, state, and local officials, visited schools in the state of Washington on Oct. 28–30, as part of the ED-GRS Green Strides Tour: “Whole Child, Whole School Sustainability."  Read this blog from Bailey Payne, a district sustainability director who traveled from Oregon to follow the tour over several days and another by Elizabeth Schmitz.

Saint Agnes wetlands restoration
Scott Stump with Saint Agnes Students Outdoors

A Special Visitor to St. Agnes

Also last month, Scott Stump, Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical and Adult Education visited Saint Agnes School in Louisville, Kentucky, a 2019 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School. Saint Agnes uses its 32-acre campus as an outdoor classroom for students to boost environmental and sustainability education. The campus is home to a composting facility, pollinator garden, and wetlands.  Above, Saint Agnes students take part in restoring campus wetlands.

Green Ribbon Schools Logo

States Seeking Green School, District, and Postsecondary Institution Nominees Now!

Many states have begun their selection of 2019–20 cycle nominees for U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools. State education agencies may collaborate with other state agencies and partners to administer the program and ultimately will nominate this cycle's selections to the U.S. Department of Education by Feb. 14, 2020.  Usually this involves a state-specific application process.  Check to see if your state participates in ED-GRS by locating your state recognition award administrator.  Alternatively, you can contact your chief state school officer to request participation.  Often, hearing from interested schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions helps states determine whether to participate in making nominations.  

Best of Green Schools

Nominate for the Best of Green Schools Awards

The 2020 Best of Green Schools Awards, co-presented by the Green Schools National Network and the Center for Green Schools at the USGBC, celebrate the hard work being done by individuals, schools, campuses, and organizations to push the green schools movement forward.  If you or someone you know is making significant strides toward creating green, healthy, and sustainable schools, make a nomination today.  Applications close on Nov. 18.

Notes from the Green Strides Tour

Eatonville Elementary School students conduct water quality monitoring in coordination with the Nisqually River Project.

Students from Eatonville Elementary School in rural Eatonville School District have been conducting water quality monitoring for eight years as part of the Nisqually River Project.

Northwest Farm 2 school display

The dining program at The Northwest School is rooted in principles of cultural diversity, seasonality, sustainability, social responsibility, nutrition, and culinary creativity. Purchasing locally grown food allows the dining program to procure the freshest products, minimize energy use and carbon emissions, and support the local economy.

Bertschi Green Wall

The Bertschi School Living Building Science was the fourth full petal certified Living Building in the world and the first in the state of Washington. It is net zero energy and water and features a green wall to treat greywater and a composting toilet.

Bethel Propane Switch

Bethel School district has replaced these old diesel school buses with propane. The 56 propane buses are less expensive to fuel and maintain, quieter to run and protect air quality for students. Bethel is one of about 850 school districts operating propane buses.

Peter Kirk Elementary School interior decorating pays tribute to felled tree.

Geothermal loops at Peter Kirk Elementary School in Lake Washington School District provide heating and cooling. The school saves energy and enhances the student learning environment with abundant natural light. Interior design touches, like this tribute to a felled tree on the school property, enhance students' connection to nature.

Resources and Opportunities


Plan for This Year’s Green Apple Day of Service 

Green Apple Day of Service is an opportunity to join schools across the world in celebrating the central role they play in preparing the next generation of leaders in sustainability. Since it began in 2012, Green Apple Day of Service has inspired over 900,000 volunteers in 80 countries to act in support of sustainability at their schools.  A school’s event improves the learning environment while strengthening student civic leadership, environmental literacy, and project management skills. Sign up and register your project by Dec. 31, 2019, to be eligible for the Green Apple Awards.

NREL Zero Energy Schools

Spotlight on A Green Strides Resource: A Guide to Zero Energy K–12 Schools

There's a wealth of new resources available on Green Strides, including sample school and district plans, policies, and even job descriptions, that your school or district can use as a template as you get started on or continue your sustainability journey.  Check out the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's newest schools publication: A Guide to Zero Energy and Zero Energy Ready K–12 Schools.


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Calls for Applications from Students, Educators, and Schools

The application period is now open for the 2020 President's Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) program and the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators (PIAEE). The PEYA program recognizes outstanding environmental stewardship projects by K-12 youth, promoting awareness of our nation's natural resources and encouraging positive community involvement. The PIAEE recognizes outstanding kindergarten through grade 12 teachers who employ innovative approaches to environmental education and use the environment as a context for learning for their students. Applications for both programs are due Jan. 15, 2020. 

Also open are the EPA's Environmental Education Grants designed to support environmental education projects that promote environmental awareness and stewardship and help provide people with the skills to take responsible actions to protect the environment. This grant program provides financial support for projects that design, demonstrate, and/or disseminate environmental education practices, methods, or techniques.  The application deadline for grants is Jan. 6, 2020.


Green Strides Design

The Green Strides Webinar Series Continues Through the Fall

The Green Strides Webinar Series has promoted over 1,500 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, publicly available webinars related to school, district, and postsecondary sustainability to (Note: All times listed are ET.)

Nov. 20, 12–1 p.m.  Portfolio Manager — Ask the Expert (EPA)

Nov. 21, 1–2 p.m. RecycleMania Competition (NWF)

Nov. 21, 2–3 p.m. Five Star and Urban Waters Grant Program (Urban Waters)

Nov. 26, 1–2 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 301 (EPA)

Dec. 4, 12–12:45 p.m.  Portfolio Manager – Ask the Expert (EPA)

Dec. 5, 7–8 p.m.  Exploring Microbial Ecosystems in Lake Huron’s Sinkholes (National Marine Sanctuaries)

Dec. 10, 1–2 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 201 (EPA)

Dec. 11, 3–4 p.m.  Innovation in Cleaning for Custodians and Students (AASHE)

Dec. 12, 1–2 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 301 (EPA)



Green Schools Conference and Expo Registration Is Open

The 2020 Green Schools Conference & Expo (GSCE) will be held March 2–4 at Hilton Portland (Oregon) Downtown.  Connect with U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools staff while you're there!  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.  An early-bird registration discount applies through Dec. 20, 2019.  (Note: Green Schools National Network members receive early-bird pricing regardless of when they register.)  

Columbia Crest A-STEM trails

At their final stop, participants on the Green Strides Tour, led by student guides, visit the student created trails at Columbia Crest A-STEM Academy in Eatonville School District.

Connect on social

Connect with Green Strides on Twitter @EDGreenRibbon and Facebook @EDGreenRibbonSchools.

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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