May 2022 Green Strides Newsletter

Green Strides Design


          U.S. Department of Education

   Green Strides

In the May 2022 Green Strides

In the News


Announcing the 2022 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools!

On Earth Day, April 22, in a video message from Secretary Cardona, blog, report, and press release, the U.S. Department of Education announced the names of the 2022 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees. Across the country, 27 schools, five districts, and four postsecondary institutions have been recognized for their innovative efforts to address the three “pillars” of the program: reducing environmental impact and utility costs; improving health and wellness; and ensuring effective sustainability education. The honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 19 states. Over 50% of the school honorees are in communities that serve at least 40% students who are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. 

For those schools that have not already received the ED-GRS award, now is a great time to begin preparing for the 2022-23 application cycle by using the resources on Green Strides and by contacting your state education authority.  Review Frequently Asked Questions for all three award categories.  Interested colleges and universities may contact their state higher education authorities, while schools and districts may contact state educational agencies.  State education authorities can find award implementation guidance on ED’s website and may email U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools for more information.  

ED Secretary Cardona Video Announcement

Meet the 2022 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools

Meet the 2022 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees. Throughout the year, we’ll highlight a few honorees’ practices in every newsletter.

Cambridge Elementary School

Cambridge Elementary School; Cambridge, Wisconsin

Cambridge Elementary School (CES) greets students daily with green space to live, learn, and grow. CES has added more efficient lighting, improved building envelope, and installed rooftop solar photovoltaic panels and solar thermal heating, as well as purchasing renewable energy. Annual bike- and walk-to-school days raise awareness about alternative transportation. All students and staff engage in composting. The school’s 40-acre site includes nine acres of woods and three acres of wetlands, which contain native, sustainable vegetation that does not require mowing or irrigation. Water bottle filling stations and automatic sensors conserve water indoors. Physical education classes are held outside, throughout the winter months, with activities like snowshoeing and sledding. The school forest’s nature trails are enhanced with trail guides offering mini-lessons and benches for an outdoor classroom. Students have lessons in the school forest; use recess time for walks in the woods, which support social-emotional wellness; help preserve and restore the school forest; and participate in environmental and ecology clubs. Place- and project-based activities allow students to apply specific local knowledge to other places, situations, and environmental conditions. Students learn the joy and hard work of gardening — from planting seeds to harvesting homegrown produce. The farm-to-school Chef in the Classroom program uses student-grown produce in math, science, language arts, and social studies lessons, as well as for nutrition education.  Students work to rid the campus of invasive species and engage in local creek water quality monitoring. 

Katella High School Garden

Katella High School; Anaheim, California  

Katella High School (KHS) achieved a 28% reduction in non-transportation energy use from 2016 to 2021 and a 57% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions during the same period. The school replaced all interior and exterior lighting on campus with LED lights. Students from Advanced Placement environmental science classes participate in the California Energy Conservation Competition, in which they develop a campaign to promote energy conservation. The campus was redesigned to include native plant species, waterwise irrigation, rain gardens, bioswales, porous pavers, and sanded pathways that collect, filter, and recycle. KHS documents an overall 43% reduction of water consumption from 2016 to 2022. KHS composts about 50 pounds of food from its cafeteria and culinary classes to enrich the school garden’s soil each year. The district fleet consists of 10 CNG fuel school buses and 12 electric buses, and KHS has four electric vehicle charging stations. The garden and outdoor learning center feature two greenhouses, an aquaponic garden, 10 raised plant beds, and an outdoor learning lab with six student-assembled benches. The area serves as a place for teaching and learning with hands-on activities. Chemistry, physics, and Advanced Placement human geography cover climate change and renewable energy topics, with teachers receiving training from such organizations as Strategic Energy Innovations. KHS connects students with green careers by partnering with the city to offer mentoring in urban planning, energy conservation, water conservation, and waste management. KHS sustainability-focused groups include Save the Earth, Recycling Club, Key Club, Garden and Sustainability Club, and a faculty Green Team. Students take field trips to the Bolsa Chica wetlands, Newport Aquatic Center, San Diego Safari Park, and a state fish hatchery.

Shippensburg University Mulch work

Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania; Shippensburg, Pennsylvania 

Shippensburg University (SU) has been focused on decreasing carbon emissions and energy usage for more than two decades. Most recently, major infrastructure upgrades, the revitalization of the Center for Land Use and Sustainability, and the 2020 signing of the Second Nature College and University President's Climate Commitment have accelerated these efforts. Efforts also include recycling, purchasing wind-generated electricity, and establishing the Campus Farm and Community Garden. In 2005, SU was the first Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education institution to conduct a greenhouse gas inventory. In 2015, SU decommissioned its steam plant and transitioned to natural gas, reducing the overall greenhouse gas footprint by 29%. Sustainable dining efforts include Project Clean Plate, trayless dining, use of local produce, and vegan options. The Campus Farm donates half of all produce to combat local food insecurity, and SU composts food waste on-site. SU is a Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Campus. The Art Department collects used vegetable oil from every dining facility on campus to make biodiesel that fuels a student-designed ceramics kiln. Students enrolled in environmental and sustainability programs enroll in such courses as the psychology of sustainability, environmental economics, environmental communication, and conservation biology. In 2017, the university launched a new sustainability major.  In 2021, SU substantially revised and updated its geoenvironmental science curriculum to more fully integrate course and field experiences in climate science, sustainability, and geotechnology into the curriculum. SU hosts an annual ShipShape Day — a campus and community event focused on cleaning up the community, including the Burd Run stream, where students also monitor water quality. 


Green Strides Design

Connect to the Green Strides Webinar Series This Spring

The Green Strides Webinar Series has promoted over 2,600 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.)

April 27, 3–4 p.m. Zero Waste Goal Setting (AASHE)

April 27, 5–6 p.m. Teaching and Learning Outside (Out Teach)

April 28, 7–8 p.m. Monitoring Microplastic Pollution from Space (NASA)

May 2, 6–7 p.m. Explore Flight:  Drag Devices (NASA)

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

May 4, 3–4 p.m. Environmental and Social Justice Forces (AASHE)

May 5, 5–6 p.m. Biomimicry and Robotics (NASA)

May 6, 1–2 p.m. Monitoring and Analytics for HVAC Performance (DOE/Berkeley Lab)

May 11, 5–6 p.m. Creating Outdoor Spaces:  The Infrastructure of Living Schoolyards (Green Schoolyards America with Intro from ED)

May 11, 7:30–8:30 p.m. Tools and Resources for Summer Fun Outdoors (Green Teacher)

May 12, 12–1:15 p.m. Portfolio Manager 101 (EPA)

May 17, 2–3 p.m. Exploring Underwater Sound (National Marine Sanctuaries)

May 18, 3–4 p.m. Honors Courses in Sustainability and the Environment (AASHE)

May 18, 7–8 p.m.  Virtual Field Trip to the Channel Islands (National Marine Sanctuaries)

May 19, 12–1 p.m. Portfolio Manager 201 (EPA)

May 24, 12–1 p.m. Portfolio Manager 301 (EPA)

May 24, 5–6 p.m. STEM Teaching Tips for Teachers & Parents (NASA)

May 25, 3–4 p.m. Tracking Sustainability Drivers in Your Institutional Culture (AASHE)

May 25, 5–6 p.m. Equity in Outdoor Education & Environmental Justice (EcoRise)

Resources and Opportunities

AmeriCorps Logo

AmeriCorps Matching Funds

This April 1, 2022 letter from Roberto J. Rodriguez, Assistant Secretary of Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Education (Department), discusses the permissibility of the Department regarding grantees and subgrantees using Federal funds granted by the Department—including annually appropriated funds and COVID-19 pandemic relief funds—as matching funds for AmeriCorps programs. In brief, a Department grantee or subgrantee may use program funds as matching funds for AmeriCorps programs.  Over the years, numerous ED-GRS honorees have had AmeriCorps programming in place to support their sustainable schools work.

Ocean Literacy NOAA

New NOAA Ocean Literacy Resources

NOAA Ocean Service Education recently announced several new Ocean Literacy resources:

You can access all of these resources as well as the Climate Literacy Essential Principles in English and in Spanish on the Ocean Service Education Literacy Resource Page

Green schools conference logo square

Submit A Green Schools Conference Proposal

The Green Schools Conference (GSC) brings together all the players involved in making green schools a reality: people who lead, operate, build and teach in schools. Designed to educate, connect and inspire, attendees of the three-day in person conference will explore interdisciplinary content during general sessions, while also having dedicated time with peers to work through specific challenges, share best practices, and generate momentum to further green school actions across the country. The 2022 program will address topics from environmental impact, health and wellbeing, sustainability literacy, equity and whole school sustainability. Whether you are a teacher, school or district staff, educational leader, parent, student, building industry professional or nonprofit partner, the GSC is the place to learn new ideas, and connect with other passionate green school champions. Submit a session proposal by May 3. If you are a representative of an ED-GRS honoree from any year, plan to attend, and are interested in being part of a presentation, please contact


Asthma Awareness Month - Chemical Irritants Infographic

May is Asthma Awareness Month

May is Asthma Awareness Month—a time to educate friends, family, and patients about asthma and promote awareness about how this serious, sometimes life-threatening, chronic respiratory disease can be controlled, including by improving school indoor environments. During Asthma Awareness Month, EPA provides ready-to-use tools and resources for use promoting asthma awareness in your school community.

Raintree School student writing about nature

Early Learning Conference

The Natural Start Alliance Nature-Based Early Learning Conference will take place in Cincinnati from July 27 to 30.  Attend the virtual conference for teaching, administration, research, educator preparation, and advocacy in nature-based early learning.  

2022 NAAEE Conference

North American Association for Environmental Education Annual Conference

The 50th North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) annual conference will be held in Tucson, from Oct. 12–15.  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 (Oct. 11–12), attracts new and established researchers to examine in-progress environmental education research and promote dialogue between researchers and practitioners.

Green Apple Day of Service Logo

Plan a Green Apple Day of Service at Your School

The pandemic disrupted the K–12 education system across the globe and curbed much of the hands-on work to improve school environments. Nevertheless, the green schools movement continues, and you can be a part of it. Keep students and our planet healthy through direct action to create better learning spaces in and out of school buildings. A Green Apple Day of Service gives parents, teachers, students, companies, and local organizations the opportunity to transform all schools into healthy, safe, and productive learning environments through local service projects.  Check out project ideas, pick up helpful event resources, and register your project online.   

Bellingham School District Garden

At 2022 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School District Sustainability Awardee Bellingham School District in Washington, students garden under guidance from community organization Common Threads, which provides garden, nutrition, and cooking education.

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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