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Three Ohio Schools Honored as ‘Green Ribbon’ Schools

Release date: 2/14/2014

 

Three Ohio Schools Honored as ‘Green Ribbon’ Schools

COLUMBUS – Three schools have been selected as Ohio’s honorees for the 2014 U.S. Green Ribbon Schools award. They are being honored for their work to produce energy-efficient, sustainable and healthy school environments for their students, schools and communities.

Ohio’s designees are Milton-Union Exempted Village School (Miami County), West Geauga High School (Geauga County) and Metro Catholic School (Cuyahoga County).  All three schools have been nominated for national recognition to be awarded by the U.S. Department of Education in April.

“These schools deserve high praise for their innovative and educational approach to a green-friendly school environment for Ohio’s boys and girls,” said Dr. Richard A. Ross, state superintendent of public instruction. “These schools set an excellent example of how innovation and community consciousness can be woven into meaningful educational experiences.”

The U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award honors schools and districts where staff members, students, officials and communities come together to produce energy-efficient, sustainable and healthy school environments.

The Ohio Department of Education, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Ohio Facilities Construction Commission and the Ohio Department of Health partnered with the Environmental Education Council of Ohio to promote, facilitate and select Ohio’s nominees.

"The schools in Ohio continue to increase their focus on creating sustainable schools and sound science environmental education," said Brenda Metcalf, the council’s executive director. “Ohio’s Green Ribbon Schools demonstrate how the effort to create and maintain a green-friendly school environment provides students and faculty with an exceptional setting to learn and thrive.”

Ohio is one of the 39 states participating in the 2014 Green Ribbon Schools recognition program.

About the schools:

The Milton-Union PreK-12 School’s commitment to energy efficiency and environmental sustainability plays an integral role in keeping costs low. In 2012, Milton-Union replaced old and energy-inefficient buildings with a new combined PreK-12 building. The new building incorporates state-of-the-art environmental system controls and features enhancements for energy efficiency. The new school was awarded LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council in 2013.

Energy efficiency and sustainability are at the heart of the building’s efforts. As a result, energy costs are 36 percent below those expected for a building of similar size. From the beginning of the project, the goal was for the building to not only be energy efficient, but also a learning tool for sustainability for students, staff and the community. The building site is an important resource to the community with an abundance of natural green spaces that provide an array of teaching opportunities.

In addition to a commitment to environmentally friendly energy and resource usage, Metro Catholic School stresses care of the Earth in all subject areas. All students regularly participate in retreats that focus on care of the Earth. Among the tenets of this program are learning, personal assessment, action and advocacy. 

In addition, each classroom from Kindergarten through eighth grade developed a Genius Project to demonstrate the environmental understanding and creativity of the students. Onsite green space provides a laboratory to align the school’s many environmental measures with outdoor learning opportunities. In a broader community project, two city lots are being reclaimed and will provide nature trails, trees, local plantings and ongoing opportunities for students and teachers to connect with nature and learn ways to protect and conserve it. The neighborhood will also benefit from this beautification project and will be available for all to use.

West Geauga High School continues to make strides in energy conservation, still focusing on habits and behaviors with no major investment in physical equipment. The custodial staff continues to experiment with low impact "green" chemicals as they move to become more effective and less environmentally intrusive at the same time. The academic environmental education programming is pervasive, especially as teachers explore how to implement new learning standards using cross-curricular strategies.

Groups of students at West Geauga High School continue to be ambassadors for environmental education, awareness and responsible action locally and globally. Students run after school Nature Clubs for fifth graders at each building. Students build and monitor nesting structures and bat boxes throughout the county in cooperation with the local park district. One group of students took part in the Lexus EcoChallenge, where, they aided communities in Ecuador, Guatemala and Afghanistan in dealing with issues of water quality and solid waste management.

 

 

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