Public schools across the U.S. that have successfully implemented innovative and sustainable school-greening programs have an opportunity to be recognized for their efforts.
The National Environmental Education Foundation, with major support from the National Education Association Foundation and in partnership with EarthEcho, Inc., will award a $10,000 Green Prize in Public Education to an outstanding public school that demonstrates success in engaging students, faculty and the local community in school greening efforts.
Greening efforts can take a variety of forms, including a creative and innovative classroom curriculum that integrates the environment, changes in daily operations that lead to greater efficiency, and resource conservation or physical improvements to school grounds and facilities.
Through the leadership and involvement of educators, staff, parents, students, community partners and others, green schools provide rich opportunities for collaborative learning and problem solving. Green schools also reduce costs, minimize waste, increase efficiency and contribute to a healthy environment.
“Schools green themselves in many different ways, but they all have things in common—they inspire,” says Diane Wood, NEEF president. “They are a teaching tool, not just for the students, but for the entire community. The Green Prize recognizes outstanding schools along with their dedicated teachers and students who advance environmental education and allows them to serve as a model for the entire country.”
The foundation will also award two additional schools $5,000 merit awards to supplement their school-greening efforts.
This is the second year for the Green Prize, conceived by the NEA Foundation and now managed by NEEF. In 2010, the NEA Foundation awarded the prize to Mike Town, an environmental science teacher at Redmond High School in Redmond, Wash. Town was recognized for his Cool School Challenge, a program that engaged students and teachers at 150 schools in reducing carbon and greenhouse gas emissions by more than 1.5 million pounds.
Visit the NEEF website to learn more or to apply for the Green Prize in Public Education. Applications are due Feb. 15, 2011.