The Center for Green Schools has named 11 individuals, institutions and projects as recipients of the 2018 Best of Green Schools Awards.
The center says the recipients represent the best environmental efforts in schools across the country and highlight the national leaders and innovators in school sustainability.
“We are excited to recognize a group of honorees who represent the breadth and depth of sustainability education and leadership,” says Anisa Heming, director of the center. “The hard work being done by this year’s recipients is nothing short of inspiring and a reminder of what can be achieved when communities come together around our schools.”
The awards were presented in collaboration with the Green Schools National Network at the Green Schools Conference and Expo in Denver.
Recipients were awarded in 11 categories:
Higher Education Institution: The Eden Hall campus at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pa. "By protecting valuable watersheds, incorporating surrounding land and agricultural resources, and rehabilitating existing farmland, Eden Hall is a one-of-a-kind venue for education, conferences, community outreach and ecotourism," the center says.
School System: Oak Park (Calif.) Unified School District. Oak Park "has modeled creative environmental education strategies including building a classroom entirely from recycled sea containers, and eliminating pesticides and rodenticides from the districts’ pest management system," the center says.
K–8 School: Maplewood Richmond Heights Middle School in Maplewood, Mo. The school "has integrated sustainability and green practices into its curriculum, including lessons in gardening, aquaponics, urban chickens, beehives, composting and rain gardens," the center says.
High School: Eisenhower High School in Goddard, Kan. Eisenhower "aims to prepare its students to make sustainable decisions every day, fostering environmental literacy and stewardship by incorporating the environment into lesson plans, including its award-winning outdoor wildlife learning site, 14 garden beds and nature trail," the center says.
Transformation: Marumsco Hills Elementary School in Woodbridge, Va. Since a student-led Green Team was created, the culture at Marumsco Hills "has transformed into one that values sustainability, with students actively collaborating with staff and administrators to implement green programs," the center says.
Student Leader: Maegan Rosario of Ewa Beach, Hawaii. Rosario is an exceptional advocate of environmental stewardship, consistently committing her free time to maintain her school's aquaponics system, garden and vermicomposting bin, and coordinating community beach clean ups and recycling drives," the center says.
Ambassador: Christos Chrysiliou, director of architecture and engineering for the Los Angeles Unified School District. "Chrysiliou has provided remarkable leadership, integrating measurable sustainability goals and promoting green practices across the district, city and country," the center says.
Policymaker: Kathleen Gebhardt of Boulder, Colo. Gebhardt was instrumental in passing 2008 legislation in Colorado that established the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) capital construction grant program. "Her work has helped fund 319 requests to address deteriorating school facilities in Colorado, positively affecting nearly 180,000 students," the center says.
Moment for the Movement: Green Schools Catalyst Quarterly in Madison, Wis. The quarterly is a peer-reviewed digital journal that highlights evidence-based practices for sustainable schools. Its coverage "includes qualitative and quantitative research, and explores emergent issues like net zero energy, waste and water," the center says.
Collaborator: EcoRise in Austin, Texas. the non-profit organization is a pioneer in K–12 sustainability education, serving more than 400 schools with curricula and teacher training that has affected 50,000 students. "With EcoRise’s support, students have reduced campus energy bills and watering needs, installed gardens and more," the center says.
Business Leader: Legrand North and Central America in West Hartford, Conn. Through its Better Communities-Better Schools program, Legrand has raised thousands of dollars for several Green Apple Day of Service projects in schools, and employees have supported a variety of efforts, from a solar-paneled garden shed to a green playground, the center says.