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Greening Colorado Schools

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 announcements and opportunities from all over Colorado.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

Have you considered/ are you considering building a school garden, buying local foods, or just taking a field trip to a local farm? Read the early results from USDA’s Farm to School Census:

USDA is pleased to announce that early results from USDA’s second Farm to School Census are in, and preliminary data indicate that school districts across the country invested more than half a billion dollars in local foods in the 2013-2014 school year. That represents an increase of $212 million (or 55%) over final results from the last Census, conducted two years ago. Preliminary numbers also show that thanks to the hard work and dedication of school food service directors, teachers, farmers, fishermen and ranchers, more than 42,000 schools are involved in farm to school activities. Whether through buying local foods, building school gardens, or taking a field trip to a local farm, these programs improve child nutrition and provide dynamic educational experiences for students, all the while providing new market opportunities for local and regional farmers. Find out more by clicking here.

Colorado Department Public Health Environment Recycling Grant: The Recycling Resources Economic Opportunity Act (HB 07-1288) created RREO Grant Program with the intent to fund implementation projects that promote economic development through the productive management of recyclable materials that would otherwise be treated as discards.

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! 

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.

2016 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. Find out more about the award by visiting the U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools Award FAQ page

The Colorado Energy Office's Energy Savings for Schools Program (ESS) Program provides energy management assistance and project implementation support to Colorado K-12 public schools, with an emphasis on rural and low-income communities.

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 Association for Learning Environments
  • #94 - Work with local GOODWILL on recycling and reuse of materials for class projects

View All 94 Ways to Green Your School Here

Additional Resources

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 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

Colorado Coalition for School Integrated Pest Management (CCSIPM)

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.

Association for Learning Environments

Established in 1921, formally CEFPI, is a worldwide professional 501 (c)(3) non-profit association whose sole mission is improving the places in which children learn. Association for Learning Environment 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
  • Rocky Mountain Chapter
  • Association for Learning Environments 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.

For more information or if an alternative version of a document is needed, please contact or call 303-866-2153.

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