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Greening Colorado Schools

This site provides information for all school districts and schools who are considering greening their facilities. Resources are provided to help involve your students, staff, and community in helping implement earth friendly ideas. Visit us often for updates on what's happening around the country and links to the many agencies that are involved with implementing sustainable goals.

If you would like to contribute event information, have stories to share, articles of interest in the field of sustainability in school facilities, or any suggestions, please forward to Cheryl Honigsberg.

Opportunities and Announcements

Are you implementing sustainable practices for greening your school? Would you like more opportunities to improve your knowledge of sustainability practices and access to excellent greening resources? Are you interested in attending seminars, webinars, and training sessions to learn how to make your school more earth friendly? See below for our regularly updated announcements and opportunities from all over Colorado.

2014 Green Ribbon Schools Highlights

Mentoring Opportunity:Opportunities to Assist with The Green Ribbon Schools Award Application

Green Ribbon Schools Application Now Available

The 2015 Green Ribbon Schools application is now available. The Green Ribbon Schools program was created by the U.S. Department of Education to recognize schools/ districts that save energy and reduce operating costs, create environmentally friendly learning spaces, promote student health, and provide environmental education to incorporate sustainability into the curriculum.

Applications are due to CDE on Monday, November 3, 2014. Up to four Colorado schools may be nominated by Commissioner Hammond to the U.S. Department of Education.

U.S. Department of Education Annual Green Strides Best Practices Tour

On Wednesday, October 8, 2014, state and local representatives joined officials from five federal agencies and the White House for visits to Maryland schools as part of the U.S. Department of Education Annual Green Strides Best Practices Tour.

2014 Green Schools Summit

On Friday, November 14, 2014, the University of Denver will be hosting the U.S. Green Building Council Colorado's 2014 Green Schools Summit, featuring keynote speaker John Medina. You can learn more about the event and how to register here.

Energy Star Webinars

There are none currently scheduled

Simple Steps to Green Your School

Environmental Clubs, Classroom and More:

  • #78 - Start or join an environmental club
  • #79 - Participate in a green school challenge
  • #80 - Organize a beach or park clean-up day
  • #81 - Have a Green Team of student monitors in charge of recycling
  • #82 - Set goals or competitions within classes, grades, or school wide e.g. least waste or most students walking to school, and award prizes
  • #83 - Set up a fundraising program with proceeds going to a green fund to buy carbon offsets, a compost bin, a solar panel, etc
  • #84 - Fundraising can include savings from recycling of cans, bottles, setting up a community collection center (for batteries, cell phones and/or printer cartridges), fairs, or bakesales
  • #85 - Teach a green curriculum in classes
  • #86 - Have a sustainability-themed science fair

  • #87 - Take field trips to see how renewable energy works in action
  • #88 - Calculate the cost impacts of sustainable building and operations (how much money does it cost vs. save?)
  • #89 - Measure your saving results and brag about the school's accomplishments to spread awareness and recognition within the school and community
  • #90 - Pursue LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification award to acknowledge your school as a green building
  • #91 - Bring sustainability home to your family
  • #92 - Bring sustainability into the community
  • #93 - Participate in CEFPI School of Future Design competition (grades 5-8)
  • #94 - Work with local GOODWILL on recycling and reuse of materials for class projects

View All 94 Ways to Green Your School Here

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Resources

Additional Resources

U.S. Department of Education:

Green Ribbon Schools - The U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) recognition award honors schools and districts that are exemplary in reducing environmental impact and costs, improving the health and wellness of students and staff, and providing effective environmental and sustainability education, which incorporates STEM, civic skills and green career pathways.

The recognition award is part of a larger U.S. Department of Education (ED) effort to identify and disseminate knowledge about practices that are proven to result in improved student engagement, higher academic achievement and graduation rates, and workforce preparedness, as well as a government wide goal of increasing energy independence and economic security.

U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)

The USGBC's mission is to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built, and operated, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy, and prosperous environment that improves the quality of life.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The mission of the EPA is to protect human health and the environment. EPA's purpose is to ensure that:

    • All Americans are protected from significant risks to human health and the environment where they live, learn and work
    • National efforts to reduce environmental risk are based on the best available scientific information
    • Federal laws protecting human health and the environment are enforced fairly and effectively
    • Environmental protection is an integral consideration in U.S. policies concerning natural resources, human health, economic growth, energy, transportation, agriculture, industry, and international trade, and these factors are similarly considered in establishing environmental policy
    • All parts of society - communities, individuals, businesses, and state, local and tribal governments - have access to accurate information sufficient to effectively participate in managing human health and environmental risks
    • Environmental protection contributes to making our communities and ecosystems diverse, sustainable, and economically productive
    • The United States plays a leadership role in working with other nations to protect the global environment

Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

The Colorado Coalition for School IPM helps maintain a safe and healthy environment for students and staff, and reduces exposure to potentially harmful chemicals. Colorado State University, Colorado Department of Education, Colorado Department of Agriculture, U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, school districts, and private pest control applicators all contribute to this program. We support the goal of the IPM Institute of North America to provide a road map for making high-level IPM a reality in all of our nation‘s school systems by 2015.

Why IPM?

      • Cost savings: The business case for Integrated Pest Management in schools: cutting costs and increasing benefits
      • Health and safety: IPM in schools and homes go hand in hand with asthma management. Common triggers for asthma include mold, pet dander, and cockroach and pest allergens.
      • Sustainability: Green building practices yield savings of about $70 per square foot in energy costs and improve student and staff performance. Incorporating IPM into schools is a natural fit contributing to lower costs and higher productivity.
      • Did you know that you can earn LEED points just by adopting an IPM policy?

Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education (CAEE)

CAEE’s mission is to serve all sectors of the Colorado community by improving the collective effectiveness of environmental education.

Council of Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI)

Established in 1921, CEFPI is a worldwide professional 501 (c)(3) non-profit association whose sole mission is improving the places in which children learn. CEFPI members, individuals, institutions, and corporations are actively involved in planning, designing, building, equipping, and maintaining schools and colleges. The association serves its members through three key strategic areas:

    • Advocacy and education of the general public, including policymakers, on the efficacy of school design and student outcomes as well as resources for planning effective educational facilities
    • Training and professional development of our members and others through current program, workshops, seminars, and conferences promoting best practices in creative school planning
    • Research and dissemination of information regarding the linkage between the educational facility, its design, and student success
    • CEFPI Membership Information

Colorado Wildlife Heritage Foundation (CWHF)

CWHF's mission is to ensure a wildlife legacy for Colorado through support of environmental stewardship, conservation of wildlife, and the protection of critical habitats.

Colorado State University Green Initiatives

Colorado State University is recognized globally for its green initiatives, clean energy research, and sustainability efforts.

Bugs of the Month:

This month’s topic is Earwigs

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