MADISON — Just 46 schools across the country received recognition through the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools program and two of them are in Wisconsin’s Oregon School District.
“Congratulations to Brooklyn Elementary School and Oregon Middle School for this recognition of your efforts to live respectfully with our planet,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “Earning Green Ribbon honors is a long process that involves thoughtful commitment from the school and local community. The sustainability education component is especially important for our kids’ future so they develop the knowledge and habits to conserve, reduce, and reuse our precious resources.”
Highlights for this year’s honorees cite Brooklyn Elementary for its school garden that provides hands-on learning that improves students’ knowledge of health and wellness. The summer “Gardening with Gusto” class offers students the opportunity to care for and harvest the school garden, sharing the bounty with local food pantries and food stands in the community. The school has a multi-faceted recycling program, and in the 2013-14 school year raised funds for a community parcourse adjacent to the school’s walking path. Students also planned, organized, and constructed a handicap accessible pathway in the garden.
Oregon Middle School generates 40 percent of its energy needs from on-site renewable resources, including geothermal and a solar array that was part of the school’s 2014 addition. Students use solar charging stations for their personal devices. In the cafeteria, students sort their waste and food scraps to facilitate composting and recycling. School gardens, a greenhouse, and hoop house involve students in growing the fresh produce offered in the cafeteria. Through multiple courses and activities taught across subject areas, students explore energy production and usage, including how alternative energies reduce climate and health effects.
The U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools program annually recognizes efforts in educational institutions to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education. This year’s honorees include 46 schools across 25 states and the Department of Defense Education Activity, six school districts, and six postsecondary institutions, including Gateway Technical College in Kenosha. The honorees were from a pool of candidates nominated earlier this year.
More information about the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools program can be found online along with “Highlights from the 2018 Honorees” that details each school's efforts toward Green Ribbon recognition.