July 2021 Green Strides Newsletter

Green Strides Design


          U.S. Department of Education

   Green Strides

In the July 2021 Green Strides

In the News

Paper making demonstration with children at Magnolia School in Alabama

An Exchange of Ideas to Inform ED’s Climate Adaptation Plan

The U.S. Department of Education (ED), partnering with other federal agencies, will host virtual “Listening Sessions” with the public throughout August. The aim of these sessions will be to support an exchange of ideas about opportunities for federal climate leadership within ED. These sessions will inform the agency’s Climate Adaptation Plan and subsequent implementation and will explore the connections between climate, the safe reopening of schools, and ongoing efforts to advance educational equity. Sessions are also intended to encourage further multilateral collaboration among the breadth of agencies and organizations with an interest in climate-resilient schools. 

Topics and dates are as follows:

  1. Equity in Sustainable Schools: Targeting Underserved Populations for Federal Support, 3, 2 p.m. ET
  2. School Infrastructure and Federal Programs, 5, 2 p.m. ET
  3. Career Opportunities in the Green and Blue Economy, Aug. 18, 2 p.m. ET
  4. Incentivizing Outdoor and Environmental Education, 23, 2 p.m. ET
  5. Postsecondary Sustainability, 30, 2 p.m. ET

All are welcome. It is preferred that attendees register with their name, role, and organization to ed.green.ribbon.schools@ed.gov by July 30.

Lincoln Avenue School Walking School Bus

Going for a 2022 Green Ribbon?

If your institution has not already been recognized, now is a great time to begin preparing for the 2021-2022 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools application cycle by using resources and programs available on Green Strides. Review frequently asked questions about all three award categories.  

For 2021 applications, interested colleges and universities may contact state higher education authorities, while preschools, elementary and secondary schools, and districts may contact state educational agencies. Schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions are eligible only if nominated by a state authority. State education authorities may contact ED-GRS for more information.  

Resources and Opportunities

UC Davis Energy Institute Logo

Spotlight on a Green Strides Resource: Ventilation Verification & Optimization

This paper on the Green Strides School Sustainability Resource Hub proposes a Ventilation and Energy Efficiency Verification/Repair Program that would prepare schools for reopening. This program includes certifying school facilities as having functioning air ventilation and filtration systems that meet or exceed OSHA requirements, and, to the extent feasible, that meet ventilation and filtration recommendations for reopening schools set forth by the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), as well as any applicable local and state agency school reopening guidance. 

Campus rainworks challenge 2021 logo

Campus RainWorks Challenge is a green infrastructure design competition for American colleges and universities that seeks to engage with the next generation of environmental professionals and showcase the environmental, economic, and social benefits of green infrastructure practices. Stormwater pollution is a problem that impacts public health and water quality in communities across the country. Registration opens Sept. 1.

Green Schools National Network Gets a New Look

The Green Schools National Network (GSNN) website has been redesigned so it’s easier to navigate the blog, resources, and information about ways to get involved, including Partnership Pathways and a membership program. The updated GreenPrint is a roadmap for school greening efforts, and the Green Schools Catalyst Quarterly is the only peer reviewed scholarly journal dedicated to green school matters.

GSNN New Logo

Meet the 2021 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools

Get to know the 2021 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools in our annual Highlights Report. Below, we spotlight three of the 2021 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools.

West Kentucky Community and Technical College planting with school children

West Kentucky Community and Technical College; Paducah, KY

In 2009, West Kentucky Community and Technical College (WKCTC) formed its first Green Committee and developed its first Sustainability Plan in 2013. Starting in 2014, WKCTC leadership has supported American Association for Sustainability in Higher Education membership. In 2017, a faculty member was given time to fill a newly created sustainability project coordinator position, and the college’s 20-member Sustainability Committee added student, external community, and administrative leadership members. The college started a sustainability newsletter and created a public sustainability website, providing information about energy efficiency, recycling, living sustainably tips, and an interactive sustainability pledge. An internal intranet site, WKCTC Sustainability, houses college sustainability news, minutes, plans, and external resource links for the college’s community. Since 2018, the college has hosted an EEL Corps AmeriCorps member, who is, in collaboration with students, assisting the college to become certified through Arbor Day Foundation Tree Campus USA; mapping trees on the 210-acre main campus; and revitalizing a campus nature trail. In 2019, a sustainability module was implemented into the mandatory First Year Experience. Faculty identified approximately 100 WKCTC courses in over 50 subjects that are sustainability-focused or sustainability-related. A greenhouse on the Paducah School of Art and Design campus provides hands-on learning that culminates in a “Culinary Arts Farm to Table” certificate. An ecology course requires students to do water sampling and data evaluation for the Kentucky Division of Water Watershed Watch program. Sustainability-related professional development is offered via lunch and learn seminars, health walks, all-day in-service sessions, and workshops.

Shadow Valley Elementary School garden bed

Shadow Valley Elementary School; Ogden, UT

Shadow Valley Elementary School was designed to maximize water efficiency and uses 45% less water than schools constructed to normal standards. More than 28% of the school was constructed of recycled materials. Over 44% of the materials used to build Shadow Valley were manufactured within 500 miles of the school site. For a full week annually, Shadow Valley works to educate students and parents about the importance of reducing emissions, including assemblies, outreach, and rewards. If parents turn off their engines, their student receives a small prize as they enter the school. Shadow Valley’s Green Ambassadors documented the impact: they found that more than half of the cars avoided idling before the initiative but more than 75% of cars avoided idling two weeks after the initiative. The STEM and environmental science teachers developed a schoolwide multiyear problem-based learning project to improve the campus. They have received grants and established relationships with community partners that include Ogden City, the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District, and Weber State University for assistance with this outdoor project. Every student at Shadow Valley attends environmental science classes, providing large and small project-based learning activities that attempt to solve environmental issues. During the COVID-19 shutdown, Shadow Valley used the opportunity to offer staff environmental science professional development with the theme “Getting Back to Going Green.”

Prince William County Schools waste audit

Prince William County Public Schools; Manassas, VA

Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS) serves over 89,000 students in 96 schools. Since 2011, PWCS has built eight new elementary schools that earned LEED certification and is pursuing LEED certification for two schools currently under construction. Sixty PWCS sites have earned ENERGY STAR certification. PWCS is currently replacing 30,000 existing fluorescent light fixtures with LED interior and exterior lighting in all schools, with an estimated $2 million in utility savings and a decrease in 3,600 metric tons of carbon. Annually, since 2013, the division has hosted a sustainability summit to celebrate accomplishments and share best practices among PWCS schools. Led by the sustainability coordinators in each school, staff members and students from all schools collaborate, share activities, and explore new opportunities with community partners. Environmental Science is taught at the ninth-grade level at all high schools. Students may take Earth Science, Advanced Earth Science, AP Environmental Science, and IB Environmental Systems. Specialty programs include an environmental engineering career program; a Center for Environmental and Natural Sciences; and an Agriculture Program that encompasses horticulture, turf maintenance, and landscaping, among other subjects.  At the elementary, middle, and high school levels, a required minimum of one Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience enables students to participate in hands-on environmental learning about the Chesapeake Bay watershed.


Green Strides Design

Take Advantage of the Ongoing Green Strides Webinar Series 

The Green Strides Webinar Series has promoted over 2,300 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.)

July 21, 12–1 p.m.  Portfolio Manager - Ask the Expert (EPA)

July 21, 1–2 p.m. Space Tech:  Brine Processor Assembly (NASA)

July 21, 3–4 p.m. Creating or Improving Green Office and Lab Certification Programs (AASHE)

July 21, 3–5 p.m. Session 7:  The Compass to Nature - 7-Week Webinar Series (USFWS)

July 21, 6–7 p.m. Modeling a Spacecraft Docking System (NASA)

July 22, 2–3 p.m. Using Federal COVID Relief Funds to Ensure Healthy, Green Schools (Center for Green Schools/UndauntedK12)

July 22, 4:30–5:30 p.m. Unseen and Extreme World of Microbes (NASA)

July 22, 6–7 p.m. Aero Tech:  Scalable Traffic Management for Emergency Response Operations (NASA)

July 26, 1–2 p.m. Reaching Students As They Reach for the Stars (NASA)

July 26, 7:30–8:30 p.m. Space Tech:  CubeSat (NASA)

July 27, 1–2 p.m. Digital Badges for Educators and Students (NASA)

July 27, 1–2 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 301 (EPA)

July 27, 3–4:30 p.m. Energy-Saving Envelope Success Stories (DOE)

July 27, 4:30–5:30 p.m. Green Propellant Infusion Mission (NASA)

July 27, 6–7 p.m. Space Tech:  Making it Culturally Relevant (NASA)

July 28, 12–1 p.m. Using American Rescue Plan Funds to Improve Your Facilities Program (Healthy Green Schools & Colleges)

July 28, 1–2 p.m. Space Tech:  NASA Spinoffs (NASA)

July 28, 3–4 p.m. ENERGY STAR Higher Education Benchmarking Initiative (AASHE)

July 28, 6–7 p.m. Engineering Design Process (NASA)

July 29, 1–2 p.m. Urban Surface Temperatures and Urban Heat Island Effects in Spanish (NASA)

July 29, 4:30–5:30 p.m. Landing Humans on the Moon (NASA)

July 29, 6–7 p.m. Scientifically Calibrated In-Flight Imagery (NASA)

August 3, 1–2 p.m. Artemis Outreach Resources (NASA)

August 3, 3–4 p.m. Waste Reduction:  Lessons Learned and What Comes Next (DOE)

August 3, 4:30–5:30 p.m. Digital Badges for Educators and Students (NASA)

August 3, 6–7 p.m. NASA Lunar Rovers and the Engineering Design Process (NASA)

August 4, 12–1 p.m.  Portfolio Manager – Ask the Expert (EPA)

August 4, 1–2 p.m. Orbital Flight Test 2 Launch Recap (NASA)

August 4, 6–7 p.m. Designing a Multistage Rocket (NASA)

August 5, 1–2 p.m. Moon to Mars - Exploring the Rock Cycle (NASA)

August 5, 1–2 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 101 (EPA)

August 10, 3–4 p.m. State and Local Planning for Energy Platform (DOE)

August 11, 1–2 p.m. Teaching Space Launch System in the Classroom (NASA)

August 12, 1–2 p.m. NASA STEM Amusement Park Physical Science (NASA)

August 17, 2:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.  K-12 Schools, K-12 Partner of the Year Award Winners (EPA)

August 17, 4:30–5:30 p.m. My NASA Data Scientifically Interesting Stories (NASA)

August 17, 6–7 p.m. Aeronaut-X:  Engineering Design and X-57 Maxwell (NASA)

August 18, 12–1 p.m.  Portfolio Manager – Ask the Expert (EPA)

August 18, 2–3 p.m. Litter-Free Communities:  Building Community (Keep America Beautiful)


Green wall Seattle Public Schools

EDspaces 2021

EDspaces is the gathering place for architects, dealers, pre-K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and independent manufacturer representatives, exhibitors, and corporations to learn about trends and experience the latest products and services in educational facilities. This year’s conference will be held Oct. 10-13 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  

NAAEE 2021 Conference postcard

Virtual North American Association for Environmental Education Annual Conference 

The 50th North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) annual conference will be held virtually, from Oct. 11-15. 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.

West Kentucky Community and Technical College students hike in Shawnee National Forest

Online Higher Education Sustainability Conference

The 2021 Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education Global Conference on Sustainability in Higher Education will be held virtually Oct. 12-14. It is the largest stage in North America to exchange effective models, policies, research, collaborations, and transformative actions that advance sustainability in higher education and surrounding communities. 

Truckee Meadows Community College Solar

Association for Learning Environments LearningSCAPES 2021 

LearningSCAPES is the conference for those who plan, design, equip, furnish, and maintain places where students learn. This year’s conference will be held Oct. 14-18 in Denver, Colorado. Attend the conference for groundbreaking educational sessions, inspiring keynote speakers, and a showcase of state-of-the-art tools that move learning into the future. 

cape romain environmental charter school oil boom

Seventh-grade Cape Romain Environmental Education Charter School (CREECS) students use a boom attached to their kayak to clean the Jeremy Creek. CREECS is a 2020 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School in McClellanville, South Carolina.

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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