November 2020 Green Strides Newsletter

Green Strides Design


          U.S. Department of Education

   Green Strides

In the November 2020 Green Strides...

In the News

School Ambassador Fellowship

Become a Fellow With the U.S. Department of Education

Bring your classroom expertise and experience into the national education policy dialogue! The School Ambassador Fellowship is designed to improve educational outcomes for students by leveraging the expertise of school-based practitioners in the creation, dissemination, and evaluation of national education policy. 

The School Ambassador Fellowship offers two separate year-long tracks: full-time and part-time. The full-time appointment is based at the Department of Education (Department) headquarters in Washington, D.C., and the part-time fellowship enables educators to collaborate with the Department while maintaining their regular school responsibilities in their home communities. The deadline to apply for the 2021–22 School Ambassador Fellowship is Jan.11, 2021. 

Green Ribbon Schools Logo

States' Deadlines for Green Schools Applicants Fast Approaching!

Many states' application periods for 2020–21 cycle nominees to U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) will be closing around the holidays. These deadlines vary by state.  State education agencies often collaborate with other state agencies and partners to administer the program and will ultimately nominate their selections to the Department by March 1, 2021.

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 or state higher education executive officer. Often, hearing from interested schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions helps states determine whether to make nominations. 

John Olson Director's Award Recipient

The 2020 ED-Green Ribbon Schools Director’s Award: Nominations Due March 15

The Director’s Award recognizes state education authorities’ exemplary efforts to administer 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 by March 15.  Any state education official who is involved in implementing the ED-GRS award, and who has not previously won the Director’s Award, is eligible for nomination.  Read about the work of past ED-GRS Director’s Award recipients

Connect on social

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

Meet the 2020 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools

Congratulations to the 2020 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.  A few of the honorees are spotlighted below.  

Magnolia School Cow Milking

Magnolia Nature School at Camp McDowell; Nauvoo, Alabama

Magnolia Nature School is a nature-based pre-K school on the 1,140-acre campus of Camp McDowell in Winston County, Alabama. Children ages 3–6 explore the farm, forest, and streams of Camp McDowell. The school serves a rural, socioeconomically disadvantaged community and provides a high-quality STEAM-based education that utilizes the natural world as its classroom. Magnolia Nature school students spend at least 80 percent of the school day outside exploring the farm, streams, and trails. The camp features a solar array and hydroelectric systems that together produce more energy than the campus uses.

Oakland Terrace

Oakland Terrace Elementary School; Silver Spring, Maryland

Oakland Terrace is a dual language immersion school that incorporates lessons for improving the planet and human health into instruction and activities at every grade level. Pre-K classes take nature walks and kindergarten classes observe animal tracks. First-grade students visit the county recycling center and second-grade students participate in a salad science program. Oakland Terrace participates in Clean Air School Bus and Safe Routes to School programs. A large internal courtyard features an outdoor classroom, with a colonial subsistence garden, pollinator garden, aquatic garden, sensory garden, and woodlands.

University of Wisconsin Whitewater day of service seed gathering

University of Wisconsin–Whitewater; Whitewater, Wisconsin

As the University Wisconsin-Whitewater campus has grown, energy efficiency projects in lighting, building envelope, and HVAC have lowered the overall energy use per gross square foot of space by seven percent. A solar array provides approximately 45,000 kWh of electricity annually. Food waste is recovered and put into industrial grinders for processing at the wastewater treatment plant. University Housing partners with Goodwill Industries to coordinate a collection event. The Sustainability Office helps manage the Nature Preserve, a 100-acre tract of land that features a woodland and prairie reconstruction project. The Eco-Reps program engages students in peer-to-peer sustainable living tips and techniques.


Resources and Opportunities

Sustainable Gardening Library

Spotlight on a Green Strides Resource

There's a wealth of new resources available on Green Strides, including a detailed list of over 100 tasks organized according to achieving public health in schools. There are Project Based Learning remote learning resources, outdoor activities well-suited to social distancing, a reusables and sanitation toolkit, and a sample letter regarding the use of outdoor space for learning, just to name a few!

Captain Planet Logo

Captain Planet Foundation ecoSolution Grants Application Deadline is Jan. 15, 2021

The Captain Planet Foundation’s ecoSolution Grants (previously called “Small Grants”) have been the defining basis of the organization’s work over the last 25 years.  The foundation has funded over 2,100 projects that have impacted 1.2 million youths around the world—actively fulfilling its mission to build the next generation of environmental stewards and change-agents. ecoSolution Grants range from $500-$2,500 and are intended to support solution-oriented, youth-led projects that result in real environmental outcomes. 


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

The application period is now open for the 2021 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 student learning. Applications for both programs are due Feb.19, 2021. 


Green Strides Design

The Green Strides Webinar Series Continues Through Winter

The Green Strides Webinar Series has promoted nearly 2,000 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, publicly available webinars related to school, district, and postsecondary sustainability to (Note: All times listed are ET.)

Nov. 11, 3–4 p.m.  Strategies for Tackling Food Waste (AASHE)

Nov. 12, 2:30–3:30 p.m.  How to Track Waste and Materials in Portfolio Manager (EPA)

Nov. 12, 5–6 p.m.  NASA STEM:  Explore Flight with the BEST Green Propellant Challenge (NASA)

Nov. 17, 1–2 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 301 (EPA)

Nov. 17, 3–4 p.m.  ENERGY STAR and Green Building Rating Systems (EPA)

Nov. 17, 4–5 p.m.  Exploring the Moon with Gateway (NASA)

Nov. 18, 2–3:15 p.m.  Communicating Your Energy Plans and Achievements (EPA)

Nov. 18, 4:30–5:30 p.m.  NASA EPDC Virtual Learning Opportunities (NASA)

Nov. 19, 12–1:30 p.m.  Indoor Air Quality in K-12 Schools: Addressing the Concept of Layered Risk Amidst COVID-19 (EPA)

Nov. 19, 3–4 p.m. Mythbusting: Natural Ventilation in Schools (USGBC)

Nov. 19, 4:30–5:30 p.m.  Explore Earth: Sally Ride EarthKAM (NASA)

Nov. 23, 4–5 p.m.  NASA STEAM: Exploring Ice and Snow (NASA)

Nov. 24, 1–2 p.m.  Verifying the ENERGY STAR® Application (EPA)

Nov. 30, 3–4 p.m.  Cultural Significance of Humpback Whales in Hawaiˋi (National Marine Sanctuaries)

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

Dec. 1, 2:30–3:30 p.m.  Benchmarking Wastewater Treatment Plants and Drinking Water Treatment Systems (EPA)

Dec. 1, 4:30–5:30 p.m.  Exploring Space Biology: The Space Chile Grow a Pepper Plant Challenge (NASA)

Dec. 3, 1–2:15 p.m.  Lighting Up Energy Savings with LED Upgrades (EPA)

Dec. 3, 3–4 p.m.  Mythbusting: Filtration and Air Cleaning in Schools (USGBC)

Dec. 3, 4–5 p.m.  NASA STEM: Newton Cars – Design a Solution to a Problem (NASA)

Dec. 7, 5–6 p.m.  STEM Teaching Tips for Parents and Caregivers (NASA)

Dec. 7, 6:30–7:30 p.m.  NASA EPDC Virtual Learning Opportunities (NASA)

Dec. 8, 1–2 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 201 (EPA)

Dec. 8, 4:30–5:30 p.m.  NASA Commercial Crew Program: Mission and STEM Resources Update (NASA)

Dec. 10, 1–2 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 301 (EPA)

Dec. 10, 3–4 p.m.  Mythbusting: Verifying Ventilation in Schools (USGBC)

Happy Thanksgiving World in Hands

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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