Eco-Code William's ES by Marya Fowler
Eco-Code at William’s Elementary School in Austin, Texas. Photo by Marya Fowler.
“We will persevere until every watt is watched!” proclaimed the 4th and 5th grade students in Brentwood Elementary School’s Environmental Club. Such is an example of the enthusiasm generated by a recent Green School Challenge held in Central Texas.

A partnership between the U.S. Green Building Council Central Texas Chapter and the National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-Schools USA Program, the goals of the challenge included empowering students to be good environmental stewards, helping students learn by putting science and math problems to work greening their schools, helping students give voice to their ideas and helping schools see tangible benefits (such as increases in recycling, lower energy costs, reduced consumption and greener school grounds).

“We’re extremely proud of all of the schools that participated this year,” said Denise Shaw, USGBC Central Texas Green Schools Committee Chair. “Thanks to programs like this, students have a better understanding of the big changes they can make by becoming involved in their community.”

Winning teams and the highlights of their projects include:


  • Brentwood Elementary: Implemented a lighting efficiency project and 
    Recycling Poster Campaign by Marya Fowler
    Recycling Poster Campaign. Photo by Marya Fowler.
     effectively presented data related to the pounds of CO2 saved pre- and post-project and committed to extending the project beyond its initial scope.
  • Cunningham Elementary: Developed, created and implemented  a sustainability action plan to Reuse, Reduce, Recycle and even Up-cycle at their school. Led official adoption of their Eco-Code at a school-wide assembly.
  • Williams Elementary: Made a measurable difference in the school’s waste consumption and effectively involved the community including outreach to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Crockett High School and Keep Austin Beautiful.

 San Antonio

  • Hawthorne Elementary:  Calculated the current biodiversity index of
    Light Switch Ambassador, Lamar ES by Hozefa Haidery
    Light Switch Ambassador, Lamar Elementary School. Photo by Hozefa Haidery.
     the school campus and then built a garden to attract birds, bees and butterflies and increase both plant and wildlife diversity at their school.
  •  Lamar Elementary: Used a carbon calculator to illustrate the impact their energy consumption-reducing actions could have at the school and created a plan to involve the whole campus next year.
  •  Martin Elementary: Created a garden using native plants and pulled in high school students and parent volunteers to increase involvement across the community.

What About Your School?

Is your school ready to become an award winning Eco-School? Visit our Eco-Schools USA website to register your school (join for free). Discover a bounty of resources to help your school become more sustainable including suggested focus areas (pathways), and a  seven step framework to help guide you through the process!