FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Secretary of Education Names Conserve School a 2014U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School
(Land O’ Lakes, Wisconsin – 4/22/14) – Acting Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality Mike Boots joined U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on Earth Day to announce that Conserve School, in Land O’ Lakes, Wisconsin is among the 2014 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award honorees.
Conserve School was nominated by Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction State Superintendent Tony Evers. In a news release recognizing Wisconsin’s Green Ribbon Schools Evers said, “Congratulations to our Green Ribbon Schools. Any school that earns this designation has worked hard over the long haul to find sustainable ways of improving environmental impacts, monetary costs, and the health of students and staff.”
Conserve School’s mission is to inspire young people to environmental stewardship. Since its beginning it has worked to reduce environmental impacts and costs through both school design and operations. The school gardens, wilderness education curriculum, and commitment to healthy foods are key components of Conserve School’s focus on health and wellness. As a semester high school focused on environmental stewardship Conserve School weaves environmental and sustainability literacy throughout its program. The school’s Stewardship in Action program educates students about green career pathways and ways in which they can make a difference in their home communities.
“Our faculty and staff have worked tirelessly since the school opened twelve years ago to integrate environmental stewardship and sustainability into all aspects of the academic and extracurricular programs,” said Assistant Head of School Mary Anna Thornton, “and it is wonderful to have their efforts recognized with an award of this caliber.”
“Conserve School could not have achieved this award without the support from many partners including Green & Healthy Schools Wisconsin, Audubon International, Sodexo, the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, and the Wisconsin Association of Environmental Education,” said Head of School Stefan Anderson.
Forty-eight schools were honored for their exemplary efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education, including civics and green career pathways. In addition, nine districts were honored for the District Sustainability Award. Duncan and Boots made the announcement at the U.S. Department of Education, in Washington, DC. Secretary Duncan also announced a new post-secondary nomination category will be added to the school and district awards for the coming year.
“Today’s honorees are modeling a comprehensive approach to being green by encompassing facility, wellness and learning into their daily operations,” said Secretary Duncan. “They are demonstrating ways schools can simultaneously cut costs, improve health, and engage students with hands-on learning that prepares them with the thinking skills necessary to be successful in college and careers.”
“Schools all over the country can look to today’s honorees as models for creating a healthier learning environment while lowering energy bills and preparing students for success in the 21st century economy,” said Acting Chair Mike Boots. “The schools and districts being honored today are taking smart, innovative steps to reduce environmental impacts and teach students the kinds of sustainable practices that they can carry with them into their homes and future careers.”
The schools were confirmed from a pool of candidates voluntarily nominated by 30 state education agencies. The list of selectees includes 39 public schools and nine private schools. The public schools include ten early learning programs, three charter, one magnet and three career and technical schools. The schools serve various grade levels, including 29 elementary, 16 middle and 18 high schools are among them, with several schools having various K-12 configurations, from 27 states. Twenty-one of the 2014 honorees serve a disadvantaged student body and 18 are rural. The list of all selected schools and districts, as well as their nomination packages, can be found here.
The Department is looking forward to a fourth year of award, with a post-secondary category, and will be posting updated competition criteria shortly to reflect this addition. State education agencies are encouraged to indicate intent to nominate schools in 2015 by August 1, 2014.
A report with highlights on the 57 honorees along with more information on the federal recognition award can be found at http://www.ed.gov/programs/green-ribbon-schools.
Video information about Conserve School is available at: http://www.youtube.com/ConserveSchoolVideo
You can find a related news release from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction at http://dpi.state.wi.us/files/eis/news_docs/dpinr2014_56.pdf
Environmental Stewardship Activities