In 2009, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Florida Department of Education (DOE) and a host of community partners recognized the environmental achievements of students, teachers, classes, schools and school districts through the first annual Florida Green School Awards.
Announced during Earth Day at the Capitol on April 22, 2009, the Florida Green School Awards will be presented each year and will present green school awards in five categories
- School districts
Applications should address one or more of the five approved green school themes:
- Green Learning Environments: The Green Learning Environments theme includes efforts that green the school facilities, or school grounds by addressing the three pillars of sustainability (economic, environmental and social) while integrating learning into each one. Efforts may include projects that promote healthy learning environments (indoors and out), enhance or restore school grounds, or reduce waste and promote resource use efficiency.
- Exemplary Programs in Curriculum and Teaching: The Exemplary Programs in Curriculum and Teaching theme addresses systematic efforts to use the local environment or environmental topics to enhance the curriculum in any subject. This theme also includes efforts that enhance a teacher’s capacity to integrate green school instructional materials into the curriculum, make use of green school facilities, improve their knowledge of green schools, or improve their delivery of green school lessons/activities.
- Service Learning: The Service Learning theme emphasizes efforts that integrate service and learning with a special emphasis on local environmental service projects that strengthen relationships between the school and the community and foster a sense of stewardship.
- Policy and Partnerships: The Policy and Partnerships theme focuses on successful policies that establish a broader foundation for green Schools and/or partnerships that engage private sector, universities, government agencies or nonprofit groups in support of green school efforts.
- Recycling: The recycling theme revolves around efforts to promote, enhance, sustain and increase recycling efforts of all types of materials at schools or school district facilities.
Applications should be made at the Florida Green School Network website for projects (students, teachers and class) and schools and school districts. Three finalists in each category will be identified and invited to a formal awards ceremony which will take place in the fall of 2013, where the statewide winners will be announced.
The 2011-2012 green school projects led by our participants generated over $20.2 million in cost savings. Since 2008, over $36 million have been saved through Green School Projects in Florida.
The Florida Green School Awards program has become part of a larger Network, the Florida Green School Network, a partnership between Florida’s DEP, DOE, DOH, and Sustainable Florida.
Learn more about the finalists from previous years by viewing the print programs.
Florida Announces its Participation in the National Green Ribbon Schools Program
At the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) launched the Green Ribbon Schools program which recognizes schools that have demonstrated exemplary achievement in all three Pillars and every element:
Green Ribbon Schools Pillars and Elements
- Environmental Impact and Energy Efficiency
Reduced or eliminated greenhouse gas emissions; Improved water quality, efficiency, and conservation; Reduced solid and hazardous waste production; Expanded use of alternative transportation.
- Healthy School Environments
An integrated school environmental health program; High standards of nutrition, fitness, and quantity of quality outdoor time [ 3 ] for both students and staff.
- Environmental and Sustainability Education
Interdisciplinary learning: environmental, energy and human systems; STEM content; Development of civic engagement in the community.
The recognition award is part of a larger U.S. ED effort to identify and disseminate knowledge about practices proven to result in improved student engagement, academic achievement, graduation rates and workforce preparedness. It is also a government-wide effort aimed to increase energy independence and economic security.