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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.

Register today for the Green Schools Summit conference on November 6th at the Arvada Center. The Green Schools Summit provides a unique opportunity for open dialogue between K-12 stakeholders, policy makers, and green building industry professionals. This year’s theme is Schools in Balance and the keynotes feature Heather Tallis, Acting Chief Scientist at the Nature Conservancy and author of the study, “Naturally Smarter Schools: The Connection Between Nature Views and Elementary School Student Test Scores,” and Greg Dekker, Director of Workplace Strategy at Teknion. Get inspired to green ALL schools in Colorado within this generation at this year’s Green Schools Summit. 

U.S. Department of Education Green Strides: Let's Get Every Kid in a Park

President Obama has launched the Every Kid in a Park initiative to help get all children to visit and enjoy the outdoors. Starting in September, every fourth-grader in the nation will receive a pass granting them and their families free admission to all of America's federal lands and waters for a year. To make these visits easier, federal resources will be available to help schools and families arrange their trips! 

The Green Apple Day of Service is Saturday, September 26, 2015. It is time to start brainstorming for the event! According to U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), “Green Apple is a global movement to put all children in schools where they have clean and healthy air to breathe, where energy and resources are conserved, and where they can be inspired to dream of a brighter future.”  The Colorado USGBC Green Schools Initiative encourages you to start thinking now about options and availability in the fall. These events can be as simple as organizing a sign design contest for the school to encourage people to turn off the lights or improve its recycling program, or host a fun assembly on reducing water usage. Looking for something more hands on? You could partner with local experts to conduct energy audits or host a Zero-Waste lunch. This is a great opportunity for developing community partnerships and USGBC Colorado is here to help! Complete this brief survey to tell us about your project ideas or to request support. 

Colorado Center for Intergrated Pest Management July 2015 Newsletter 

EPA IAQ Webinar Series Available for Online Streaming

Read the EPA's newest Issue -- School IAQ Management: On the Web, On Your Phone and On the Ground!

You can still register for the new webinar series, "Pollution Solution: How to Create IAQ Policies, Plans, and Practices to Control Pollutant Sources in Your School District", which began Thursday, September 17, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. EDT. 

Watch the webinar on the Energy Savings Plus Health series with the Council of Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI). Topic of the Class: How School Districts are Saving Money, Increasing Energy Efficiency and Protecting Health

The EPA'S Indoor Air Quality Master Class Series will be available for online streaming. The first two webinars in the series, "Creating Healthy Indoor Environments in Schools: The Knowledge, Network, and Actions You Need" and "Making the Case for Envrionmental Health, Academic Performance, and High Performing Facilities" are now available to watch On-Demand.

EPA Develops New Energy Savings Plus Health Indoor Air Quality Guidelines for School Building Upgrades

The EPA has developed indoor air quality guidelines concerned with energy savings and healthy staff and students. The guide is written primarily for school facilities managers, energy managers, risk managers, building operators, and school administrators to help them collaboratively manage the relationships between energy efficiency upgrade activities and infoor air quality in schools.

2015 Green Ribbon Schools Award

Every year the U.S. Department of Education uses the Green Ribbon School Awards as an outreach initiative to promote sustainable practices and resources in schools. The Awards recognize schools, school districts, and Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) that have implemented best practices and resources to reduce impact and costs, improve health and wellness, and teach envionmental and sustainability education.

Stay tuned for more information regarding how to apply and mentoring programs for the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Award 2015. In the meantime, find out more about the award by visiting the U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools Award FAQ page

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?

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.

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