February 2021 Green Strides Newsletter

Green Strides Design


          U.S. Department of Education

   Green Strides

In the February 2021 Green Strides...

In the News

Green Ribbon Schools Logo

State Nominations for U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Due by March 1

State education authorities can submit school, district, and postsecondary institution nominees for U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) between now and March 1.  ED will announce the 2021 selectees on Earth Day.  Public health conditions permitting, honored schools will be invited to send up to five representatives to a recognition ceremony in Washington, D.C. in the fall. 

For those that have not already been honored (this is a one-time award), now is a great time to begin preparing for the 2022 application cycle by using resources and programs on Green Strides and contacting your state education authority.  For future cycles, interested colleges and universities should contact their state higher education authorities, while schools and districts should contact their state educational 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.  

John Olson Director's Award Recipient

The 2021 ED-Green Ribbon Schools Director’s Award: Nominations Due March 1

The ED-GRS 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 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

Resources and Opportunities

Best of Green Schools

Nominate for The Best of Green Schools and Green Apple Awards

The Center for Green Schools and the Green Schools National Network will co-present the Best of Green Schools and the Green Apple awards of 2021. 

The Best of Green Schools Awards celebrate the leaders — individuals, schools, campuses, and organizations advancing our shared vision of green schools.  Award categories include those for: K–12 schools, school districts, student leaders, educators, advocates, collaborators, and business leaders.  Nominations can be submitted here.

The Green Apple Awards honor the specific efforts or projects that have supported the local community through sustainability during the 2020 calendar year.  Registration of the project on greenapple.org is encouraged to provide more information on the project’s impact.  The three categories include deep impact, broad engagement, and creative approach, and nominations can be submitted here.

For both awards, the call for nominations closes on March 7. 

Green Schools Conference Logo

Be Part of the Green Schools Conference

This year, the Green Schools Conference will convene virtually on June 28-29.  The event will build on a series of green school summits in February, bringing together green schools advocates from across all professional backgrounds – those who build, lead, operate, or teach in green schools – for cross-collaboration and learning.  The education program features two days of programming, including interactive sessions for direct attendee engagement and contribution.  Session speakers will receive complimentary registration for the conference.  Session proposals are due by March 8.

New Jersey School Boards Association Logo

Spotlight on a Green Strides Resource: Sample School Sustainability Policy

The New Jersey School Board Association (NJSBA) developed a comprehensive template outlining sample sustainability and green initiative policy language.  The compilation was put together by the NJSBA based on research from other districts and is a list of suggested best practices.  This sample policy can be edited to reflect your own school/district programs and practices.

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

This spring, we’ll be announcing the 2021 honorees.  In every Green Strides edition until then, continue to learn from 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.  Three of the honorees are spotlighted below.  

Sunrise School bee keeping

Sunrise Elementary School; DeSoto, Missouri

Sunrise Elementary School participates in the Green Schools Quest, a project-based contest that catalyzes student-driven sustainability projects.  A 22-acre outdoor classroom allows for a variety of learning experiences in several ecosystems, including a pond, woodland, and a cultivated vegetable garden.  The University of Missouri Extension offers health education and cooking lessons using school garden produce.  Local farmers and a master gardener offer lessons during the year.  The Jefferson County Beekeepers Association helped install hives from which students extract honey for sale to the community.  Sunrise installed a geothermal heating/cooling system, and the entire building now has LED lighting.

Truckee Meadows Community College Solar

Truckee Meadows Community College; Reno, Nevada

One hundred percent of Truckee Meadows Community College energy service is from renewable energy.  With rebates from Nevada Energy, Truckee Meadows installed solar panels at no cost to the College.  TMCC has two electric vehicle charging stations, a free bus pass program, a carpooling bulletin board, a bike-to-work week, and a bike repair station.  The community garden supplies an on-campus food pantry.  Some sustainability courses offered include Design with Nature, Design with Climate, and Zero Waste Initiative.  The Sustainability Champions Committee has led over 50 one-on-one meetings with teaching faculty focusing on embedding green concepts into classroom pedagogy.

Edison Elementary

Edison Elementary School; Alameda, California

Edison earned ENERGY STAR certification in 2019 with a score of 77.  Between 2009 and 2018, Edison documented a 41% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions.  Staff and student conservation education, Edison’s participation with the district’s energy conservation contractor Cenergistic, and major campus modernization projects completed from 2018-19 all contributed to this reduction.  Edison has also reduced its water use since 2009 by installing high-efficiency faucets, diverting water through bioswales, and practicing systematic monitoring.  The school began monitoring waste service levels in 2013 and demonstrates an 80% diversion rate.  Edison does not use pesticides.


Green Strides Design

The Green Strides Webinars Continue Through Winter

The Green Strides Webinar Series has promoted over 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 ed.green.ribbon.schools@ed.gov.  (Note: All times listed are ET.)

Feb. 24, 1–2 p.m.  Explore NASA’s Four Forces of Flight – Part I (NASA)

Feb. 24, 1–2 p.m.  Part 2:  Using Benchmarking Results to Understand Your Building’s Performance (EPA)

Feb. 24, 3–4 p.m.  Engage in Climate Solutions:  Help Get the Climate Policies We All Need (AASHE)

Feb. 24, 4:30–5:30 p.m.  Mars Rover 2020 “Perseverance” Science Goals (NASA)

Feb. 24, 6–7 p.m.  Explore Moon to Mars:  Making It Culturally Relevant (NASA)

Feb. 24, 7–9 p.m.  Heart-Centered Self-Care Inspired by Nature (Dimensions Educational Research Foundation)

Feb. 24, 7:30–8:30 p.m.  Remarkable Algae in Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (National Marine Sanctuaries)

Feb. 25, 1–2:30 p.m.  Ventilation and Virus Mitigation in Schools (EPA)

Feb. 25, 2–3 p.m.  Zero Waste Communities:  A Vision for the Future (Keep America Beautiful)

Feb. 25, 2–3 p.m.  Engineering Solutions and Strategies for Safe Routes to School (Safe Routes Partnership)

Feb. 25, 3–4 p.m.  Critical Questions for Program Design During COVID-19 (NAAEE)

Feb. 25, 6–7 p.m.  Celebrating ISS Technology:  Baking Cookies in Space? (NASA)

March 1, 1–2 p.m.  NASA’s Commercial Crew Program:  New Launches and Resources (NASA)

March 1, 4:30–5:30 p.m.  NASA STEM at Home and School:  Developing an Ecosystem Model (NASA)

March 1, 6–7 p.m.  STEM Teaching Tips for Parents and Caregivers (NASA)

March 2, 2–3 p.m.  Aeronaut-X:  Shape Your Flight (NASA)

March 2, 6–7 p.m.  Aeronaut-X:  Shape Your Flight (NASA)

March 2, 7:30–8:30 p.m.  Women’s History Month:  NASA’s Hidden to Modern Figures (NASA)

March 3, 12–1 p.m.  Portfolio Manager – Ask the Expert (EPA)

March 3, 3–4 p.m.  Vertically Integrated Projects for Sustainable Development (AASHE)

March 3, 7:30–8:30 p.m.  Aeronaut-X:  Explore la Aeronáutica a través de la trigonometría con la actividad Shape your Flight (NASA)

March 4, 6–7 p.m.  NASA STEAM:  Simple Machines Shoe Box Rover (NASA)

March 8, 4:30–5:30 p.m.  Design a Kite with Computational Thinking (NASA)

March 10, 3–4 p.m.  Sustaining A Community Garden (AASHE)

March 10, 4:30–5:30 p.m.  Explore Humans in Space:  Space Food & Nutrition ISS (NASA)

March 10, 7:30–8:30 p.m.  STEAM-Based Learning:  Building Renewable Energy Technologies (Green Teacher)

March 15, 1–2 p.m.  Pioneering Mars:  The Importance of Oxygen? (NASA)

March 16, 3–5:30 p.m.  Hawaiˋi Ocean Classroom Teacher Workshop (Day 1) (National Marine Sanctuaries)

March 16, 7:30–8:30 p.m.  Aeronaut X:  3, 2, 1 Take Off! Activity (NASA)

March 17, 1–2 p.m.  The Future of Solar:  A Tour of Cutting-Edge Solar Research with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)

March 17, 3–4 p.m.  Mapping the (Mis)alignment of Higher Education Institutions with Sustainability (AASHE)

March 17, 3–5:30 p.m.  Hawaiˋi Ocean Classroom Teacher Workshop (Day 2) (National Marine Sanctuaries)

Schlitz Audubon Nature Preschool winter nature walk

At 2019 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School Schlitz Audubon Nature Preschool in Milwaukee, WI, students enjoy daily hikes to build endurance and observe changes in the world around them.

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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