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Green Schools Earn a Gold Star

Monday, January 5, 2015

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An environmental program for special-needs students and an oyster gardening group are among 10 national recipients honored for their efforts to create sustainable learning environments.

The 2014 "Best of Green Schools" individuals, institutions, projects and events honored by the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) include leaders who take risks and set an example for others on a local and national scale.

The list includes a university's longtime energy conservation program, efforts to remove toxic products from schools, a new wellness center in one of America's poorest communities, a children's book, and a community event that drew thousands.

Making the 'Green List'

Details about the recipients from the Center for Green Schools appear below.

K-12 School: The Monarch School (Houston, TX). Founded in 1997, The Monarch School's environmental education program has offered students with special needs the opportunity to learn about the environment on campus.

Higher Education Institution: Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo, MI). Over the past two decades, the Western Michigan University (WMU) community has initiated energy conservation efforts, recycling and waste reduction programs and facilitated cooperative research into green manufacturing practices.

Green School Wish

The honorees include Annie Donnelly, whose new children's book teaches about sustainability measures, including gardens, clean construction, and energy-efficient heating and cooling.

Ambassador: Mark Swiger (Wheeling, WV). A teacher in Marshall County Schools, Swiger was behind the district's movement toward greener building and sustainable operations.

Policy Maker: State Rep. Brenda Gilmore (Nashville, TN). As the chair and founder of the Tennessee Green Schools Caucus, Gilmore has worked with colleagues in Tennessee and across state lines to promote activities that improve the places where children learn.

In 2014, she championed legislation that encourages school districts to use less toxic products and to schedule cleaning and maintenance at times that limit student and staff exposure to harmful chemicals.

Student Leadership: Dunloggin Middle School Oyster Gardeners (Ellicott City, MD). For three years, Dunloggin Middle School Oyster Gardeners have cared for and relocated nearly 12,000 oyster spat as part of an initiative to help clean the Chesapeake Bay.

Oyster gardening
Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Students from Dunloggin Middle School have helped to raise, nourish and relocate almost 12,000 oysters to the Chesapeake Bay.

Business Leadership: Bristol-Myers Squibb (New York, NY). The company established a senior-level Sustainability Council in New Jersey in 2009 and funded a Green Schools Fellow at New Jersey School Boards Association. The position is not only transforming how school board members view their responsibilities, but also changing how other school boards approach green education.

Collaboration: University at Buffalo, the State University of New York (Buffalo, NY). In partnership with the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, SUNY-Buffalo has convened over 150 organizations and more than 300 members of the general public in three region-wide Environmental Congresses to create "Our Shared Agenda for Action," a blueprint for action on regional environmental issues.

Transformation: Green Bronx Machine (South Bronx, New York, NY). Green Bronx Machine is transforming an unused library in a 100-year-old school building into the first-ever Health, Wellness and Biodiversity Center in the South Bronx—one of America's poorest Congressional Districts.

Rep Brenda Gilmore

Tennessee State Rep. Brenda Gilmore (D) was recognized for her environmental efforts in schools.

Community Event: Learning Gate Community School (Lutz, FL). EcoFest 2014, presented by Learning Gate Community School in conjunction with the City of Tampa and USF Patel College of Global Sustainability, drew more than 4,500 participants in April 2014.

Moment for the Movement: Annie Donnelly (West Palm Beach, FL). Donnelly recently authored Willow Watts and the Green School Wish, a children's book that teaches about a wide range of sustainability measures, from vegetable gardens, to clean construction, to energy-efficient heating and cooling.


Tagged categories: Awards and honors; Green building; Schools; Sustainability; U.S. Green Building Council

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