Student Leaders in the Making at Second Massachusetts Green Flag Eco-School

Acton Boxborough Regional High School in Acton, MA, is the fourth Eco-Schools USA Green Flag awardee. (Liz Soper)
On Friday, May 4, I had the distinguished opportunity to award the NWF Eco-Schools USA Green Flag to the Acton-Boxborough Regional High School in Acton, MA, or “AB” as the students call it.

There is no doubt this school deserved this award.

In order to receive the flag, the school had to address three pathways of sustainability. Over the past two years, this has entailed reducing electricity usage by over 10% and boosting lunchroom recycling and composting by over 250%.  The school also performed a water audit on the school grounds, created a rain garden and incorporated a plastic water bottle campaign at the school with three new bottle water fill stations. All great stuff!

But what impressed me the most about this school was the students and the strong leadership roles they were taking to ensure the success of this program.  As I met with groups of students I began to realize that not only were these students obtaining knowledge and skills on how to make their school more sustainable, but they were learning to organize themselves, develop programs, create and distribute communication to the school and community.  They were interacting with adults at the administration level and into the community including their state members of Congress and Senators. They were identifying needs—more curriculum or classes related to sustainability, and they were learning to evaluate their progress.

See a video about the school’s work on the ActonPatch website.

Among the most impressive elements of Acton Boxborough's Green Flag work is its student leadership (Liz Soper)
The students did all this under the leadership of Energy Advisor Kate Crosby, with strong support from faculty and staff of the Acton-Boxborough Regional School District.

Many of the students who I spoke with were seniors and were moving on to college next year.  Some were excited to use their Sustainability work at “AB” and pursue further study in the environment or sustainability fields in college.

But even for those that were not planning on further study had gained something. Participating in NWF Eco-Schools USA has given them a big leg up for their future.  They are now strong student leaders and most importantly, they will be taking those leadership skills with them into the world in whatever role they decided to explore.

You can find out more about AB’s great work by reading an article in their local paper or checking out NWF’s press release.  Look at our list of current Eco-Schools to see how many are in your state or find out how your school can become an Eco-School.