It’s Official: Inaugural U.S. Green Ribbon School Award Winners Announced!

Savannah Country Day School, one of the inaugural US Green Ribbon School Award winners as well as an Eco-Schools USA Green Flag recipient (Laura Hickey)
On April 23, 2012, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, alongside White House Council for Environmental Quality (CEQ) Chairwoman Nancy Sutley and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, announced the winnersof the inaugural U.S. Green Ribbon School Awards.

Seventy-eight schools representing 29 states were awarded the nation’s first U.S. Green Ribbon Schools Award for overall excellence in environmental literacy; environmental quality; and the health and wellness of students and faculty.

The announcement took place at the Stoddert Elementary School in Washington, D.C.  which is LEED Gold certified and the city’s first geo-thermal building.   Included in the roster of winners were 19 schools registered in the National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-Schools USA program.

During his speech, Secretary Duncan pointed out how important a holistic environmental education is for 21st century employment:

 “Science, environmental and outdoor education play a central role in providing children with a well-rounded education, helping prepare them for the jobs of the future […] U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools demonstrate compelling examples of the ways schools can help children build real-world skill sets, cut school costs, and provide healthy learning environments.”

The inaugural class of U.S. Green Ribbon School Award winners signals a shift in the understanding of environmental education as integral to our nation’s success.  “These Green Ribbon School award winners are taking outstanding steps to educate tomorrow’s environmental leaders, and demonstrating how sustainability and environmental awareness make sense for the health of our students and our country” said Chairwoman Nancy Sutley.

As host of the Eco-Schools USA program and a member of the U.S. Green Ribbons Schools Partnership, NWF continues to work tirelessly on the effort to ensure that all students receive a quality environmental education and develop an authentic relationship with the outdoors.  “America’s schools still lead the way in making our communities more efficient and environmentally literate,” said Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation in a statement.  “By cutting their expenses and recasting themselves as living laboratories for a sustainable future, these Green Ribbon awardees prove a great model for well-rounded 21st century education.”