October 2021 Green Strides Newsletter

Green Strides Design


          U.S. Department of Education

   Green Strides

In the October 2021 Green Strides...

In the News

University of North Carolina Wilmington Trolley

The Green Strides Tour Visits North Carolina

Year-round, ED-GRS and its Green Strides outreach initiative share promising practices and resources in the areas of safe, healthy, and sustainable schools; nutrition and fitness; and environmental education. Each fall we visit the school communities of past honorees to highlight their efforts as a part of the Green Strides Tour. Read about this year's tour in Raleigh, Fayetteville, and Wilmington, North Carolina area schools in this blog.

White House logo

Biden Administration Makes Climate Information and Decision Tools More Accessible

On October 12, the Biden Administration announced whole-of-government initiative to deliver accessible and actionable information to individuals and communities that are being hit by flooding, drought, wildfires, extreme heat, coastal erosion, and other intensifying climate impacts. These resources include: 

  • A launch by NOAA of a redesigned Climate.gov that integrates artificial intelligence to improve the accessibility of accurate and timely climate information.
  • The release of two reports outlining the ways the federal government will improve access to climate tools and services, including a report on expanding and improving climate information and services for the public and a second report focused on opportunities to enhance geospatial data and mapping tools to inform climate planning.
  • The initiation of a process by FEMA to assess the National Flood Insurance Program standards to help communities align their construction and land-use practices with the latest understandings of flood risk, including a new Request for Information, to gather stakeholder input to inform potential revisions that make communities more resilient and save lives, homes, and money.
Green Ribbon Schools Logo

States' Deadlines for Green Schools Applicants Fast Approaching!

Many states' application periods for 2021-22 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 Feb. 18, 2022 (an extension from the original Feb. 1 state submission deadline). 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. 

Director's Award Recipient Joe DaSilva and Deputy Secretary Cindy Marten

The 2022 ED-Green Ribbon Schools Director’s Award: Nominations Due March 1

The Director’s Award recognizes state education authorities’ exemplary efforts to administer ED-GRS. At the 2021 ED-GRS ceremony, Joseph DaSilva received the Director's Award on behalf of the Rhode Island team from Deputy Secretary Cindy Marten, pictured above. 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, 2022. 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

Resources and Opportunities


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Calls for Education Proposals

EPA announced that up to $3 million in funding for locally focused environmental education grants are now available under the 2021 Environmental Education (EE) Local Grant Program. EPA will award grants in each of EPA’s 10 Regions, for no less than $50,000 and no more than $100,000 each, for a total of 30-40 grants nationwide. The Requests for Application (RFA) notice is now posted on www.grants.gov. Applications are due Dec. 6, 2021.

Campus Race 2 Zero Waste

Campus Race to Zero Waste 2022

The National Wildlife Federation's Campus Race to Zero Waste is a national college and university competition dedicated to reducing waste and increasing recycling. For eight weeks each spring (February-March), hundreds of higher education institutions across the country rally their campuses to “up their game” by reducing waste and increasing their recycling and composting in an effort to beat rival campuses. Three campus winners are recognized for each main competition category (diversion, per capita, zero waste, and food organics) according to the Carnegie Classification for size (small/very small, medium, and large/very large). All campus winners will receive an electronic badge to share on websites, and through email and social media. 

EPA Logo

Comment on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Strategic Plan

On Oct. 1, EPA released its draft FY 2022-2025 Strategic Plan. The Plan presents seven strategic goals focused on protecting human health and the environment and four cross-agency strategies that describe the essential ways EPA will work to carry out our mission. The plan includes a cross-agency strategy requiring the consideration of the health of children at all life stages and other vulnerable populations in all of EPA’s work. Public comments on the draft plan must be received on or before Nov. 12, 2021, and may be submitted to the Federal eRulemaking Portal, identified by Docket Number EPA-HQ-OA-2021-0403, at www.regulations.gov

Center for Green Schools

Participate in a National Survey on Air Quality Measures in K-12 Schools 

The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council, with technical support from ASHRAE, is conducting a national survey to understand how indoor air quality (IAQ) strategies have been used by schools in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey data that is collected will be anonymized and will inform a national report. The short, 20-minute survey may be taken by a school district facilities manager or similar official by Nov. 30. 

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

Congratulations to the 2021 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.  

Southeastern Louisiana University garden

Southeastern Louisiana University; Hammond, Louisiana

Southeastern Louisiana University constructed a Sustainability Center in 2010 that uses a geothermal pond loop system to heat and cool the building. The center also has a wind turbine, a solar thermal system, and an electrical charging station. Southeastern’s dining facility, The Mane Dish, provides monthly environmentally sustainable eating and waste reduction campaigns. The campus garden produces food for the local community and is an educational tool for local youth. Southeastern’s College of Science and Technology offers electives that include Environmental Awareness, Conservation Biology, and Pollution Fundamentals and Control Technologies. The university’s College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences offers Environmental Sociology, Earth Science, Food Sustainability and Society, and Applied Environmental Sociology in its elective choices for students. Southeastern’s biology program is invested in the ecosystem of a nearby lake through the Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station.

Los Altos High School students planting trees

Los Altos High School; Los Altos, California

Los Altos High School built a LEED Gold-certified building to replace portable classrooms. The school purchases 100% clean electricity obtained from wind, solar, and hydroelectric sources. Solar canopy panels provide approximately 55% of the electric needs of the campus, and rooftop solar panels cover all LEED Gold classroom energy needs. The school installed 30 electric vehicle charging stations. The LAHS Green Team has hosted an annual Students for Green High Schools Conference since 2013. Other student-led clubs, such as Biomimicry Club, Sustainable Living Club, Bee Club, and Ocean Preservation Club, draw attention to environmental issues. The chemistry courses at LAHS have an annual BioDiesel project. AP environmental science students analyze and determine plant species on campus, measure solar energy efficiency, and monitor air quality. Physics students study topics in energy conservation and efficiency. In AP Human Geography, a major theme focuses on land use patterns as they relate to sustainability. Within the required economics course, there is a strong emphasis on business transactions that impact the environment.

Barrington middle school flower power

Barrington Middle School; Barrington, Rhode Island

Barrington Middle School (BMS) tracks energy use through the EPA Energy Star Portfolio Manager and uses high-efficiency fixtures and ENERGY STAR label appliances. Landscaping was developed using native plantings. Stormwater runoff from the school site was reduced by using low-impact development practices that include rain gardens and sand filters. BMS developed a Youth for Climate Action Group, whose members co-design lessons with faculty. The entrepreneurship teacher leads a United Nations Sustainable Development Goals project in which students learn about upcycling and environmental impact. Students annually take tours of the nearby landfill and recycling center to see the impact of waste on the environment. BMS installed outdoor classrooms, and the campus abuts wetlands that classes use for learning spaces. BMS partners with the Barrington Community Farm to promote and participate in sustainability and nutrition education.


Green Strides Design


The Green Strides Webinar Series Continues Through Winter

The Green Strides Webinar Series has promoted over 2,400 sessions over the last seven years that provide free tools to reduce schools' environmental impact and costs, improve health and wellness, and teach effective environmental education.  Below is a sample of the list on the webinar calendar. (Note: All times listed are ET.)

Oct. 27, 7:30-8:30 p.m. A Simple Model for Teaching the Energy Transition (Green Teacher)

Oct. 28, 1-2 p.m. Engaging Your Campus in the 2022 Competition (Campus Race to Zero Waste)

Nov. 2, 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Federal Funding for Green Infrastructure and Nature-Based Solutions (EPA)

Nov. 2, 1-2 p.m.  Reducing Costs with Quick Water Wins (EPA)

Nov. 2, 3-4:15 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 101 (EPA)

Nov. 3, 3-4 p.m.  ENERGY STAR Higher Education Benchmarking Initiative (AASHE)

Nov. 3, 6-7 p.m. Insights Into Humpback Whale Use of Entire Ocean Basins (National Marine Sanctuaries)

Nov. 3, 7:30-8:30 p.m. Contrasting Energy Solutions (Green Teacher)

Nov. 4, 1-2 p.m. Overview of 2022 Competition (Campus Race to Zero Waste)

Nov. 4, 7-8 p.m. Place-based Education:  Finding the Good in the Pandemic (NAAEE)

Nov. 10, 12-1 p.m.  Portfolio Manager – Ask the Expert (EPA)

Nov. 10, 3-4 p.m.  Curricula That Inspire Action on Climate Solutions (AASHE)

Nov. 10, 6-7 p.m. Hawaii’s Humpback Whale Mother and Calf Pairs (National Marine Sanctuaries)

Nov. 11, 7:30-8:30 p.m. Art and the Cosmic Connection (NASA)

Nov. 12, 2-3 p.m. School Building Science:  Green & Safe Cleaning (CHPS)

Nov.15, 4:30-5:30 p.m. Leadership/Followership-Team Communication (NASA)

Nov. 16, 1-2 p.m.  Portfolio Manager 301 (EPA)

Nov. 16, 6-7 p.m. Build and Test a Solar Sail Using the Engineering Design Process (NASA)

Nov. 17, 3-4 p.m. Safe Routes Back to School 2021 Fall Zoom Session (Safe Routes Partnership)

Nov. 22, 1-2 p.m. BEST Thermal Protection and the Engineering Design Process (NASA)

Nov. 24, 7:30-8:30 p.m. Decarbonization:  How Do Our Current Needs Fit Into the Transition? (Green Teacher)

Connect on social

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

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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