Director of the Campaign for Environmental Literacy James L. Elder and Director of the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council Anisa Heming joined Assistant U.S. Secretary of Education for Management Holly Ham and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Director of Education Louisa Koch today to congratulate the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees on their achievements at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

At the event, 45 schools and 9 districts were honored for their exemplary efforts to reduce environmental impact and costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education. In addition, nine colleges and universities were honored with the Postsecondary Sustainability Award.  Representatives from honored schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions received sustainably crafted plaques in recognition of their achievements.

“Today’s school, district, and postsecondary honorees demonstrate a wide variety of promising practices to reduce their institutional operating costs and impact on the planet, while offering inspiring, healthy, and safe instructional environments,” said Assistant U.S. Education Secretary for Management Holly Ham.  “They lead the way in encouraging wellness practices, from healthy, school-grown garden produce to copious outdoors physical activity.   Finally, they are using real-world problems in their communities and around the globe to allow their students to engage in hands-on, authentic sustainability learning in all subjects, preparing them for the careers and challenges of the future.”

“Our children are the hope and promise for our future and an even better future for generations to come,” said National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Education Director Louisa Koch.  “The U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools recognition awards exemplify what the students, teachers, and staff are doing to make the world a better place.”

“Over the past six years, U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools helped to define what it means to be a sustainable school and how to effectively offer environmental education, so it’s my pleasure to celebrate this work annually,” said James Elder, director of the Campaign for Environmental Literacy.  “The winning schools are inspiring their students and their communities, year after year, to learn how to live on this planet in a more sustainable manner.”

“This year’s awardees have much to be proud of – from innovative operational practices that save their schools valuable funds to pioneering education that involves students in the creation of a more sustainable world,” said Anisa Heming, director of the Center for Green Schools at the US Green Building Council.  “We commend these schools, districts, and post-secondary institutions on their hard work, and we applaud the Department of Education’s commitment to honoring their success in positively impacting the environment, supporting health and wellness, and advancing environmental and sustainability literacy.”

Ham also announced the 2017 Green Strides Tour, this year under the theme “Taking Learning Outside.” This year’s tour will take place in September and spotlight outdoor education in past and present school, district, and postsecondary honorees in Georgia.

The honorees were selected from a pool of nominations made by 28 state education authorities, including 27 states and Department of Defense Education Activity.  The list of selectees includes 39 public schools and six private schools. The public schools include one charter and five magnet schools. Forty-four percent of honorees serve a disadvantaged student body, 14 percent are rural, and among them are three community and career and technical colleges.

View the list of all selected schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions and summaries of each of the 63 honorees.  More information on the federal recognition award can be found here. Resources for all schools to meet the award criteria can be found here.

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