Sustainable or green schools are an important part of any watershed’s environmental health. Increasing the number of schools implementing environmental and sustainable practices will reduce the impact of their buildings and grounds on the local watershed, environment and human health. Student-driven action projects are required or would strengthen your application to national and state programs.
Explore the programs in your state or check out the national programs—your school might be interested in getting recognition for their environmental initiatives at both the state and national level! Included on this page are resources and smaller recognition programs that could help you work toward the state or national recognition programs.
Green School Award programs
- Green Ribbon Schools, U.S. Department of Education - this award aims to inspire schools, districts, and institutions of higher education to strive for 21st-century excellence by highlighting promising school sustainability practices and resources that (1) reduce environmental impact and costs; (2) improve the health and wellness of schools, students, and staff; and (3) provide effective environmental and sustainability education. State agencies nominate schools to this federal program. Visit your state’s Green Ribbon School website listed below to learn more.
- Eco-Schools USA, National Wildlife Federation - schools follow a framework for this award where students play a primary role in thinking creatively and critically about environmental and sustainability challenges at their school and develop place-based solutions.
Pathways to Green Schools Program (Includes Green Ribbon application)
Green Schools Award Program, Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education
Pathways to Green Schools (Includes Green Ribbon application)
West Virginia Sustainable Schools (Includes Green Ribbon application)
Resources or programs to help a school become a Sustainable or Green School
Green Strides - a portal of resources, webinars, case studies, promising practices and collaboration to support schools working through the Green Ribbon program
Green Schoolyards America - this website has a wealth of information on how to turn schoolyards into natural spaces including the logistics needed to plan and implement projects and activities to do with students in the schoolyard
Green School Alliance - an international program supporting sustainable school activities with resources and trainings
Project Green School - includes pathways and activities to greening your school
Project Learning Tree - find curriculum and training opportunities that would support sustainable school initiatives or, follow the Project Learning Tree GreenSchools program that guides students to design and lead an action project
Certified Wildlife Habitat, National Wildlife Federation - get recognition for schoolyard wildlife habitats
Maryland Healthy School Facility Fund - a program run by the Interagency Commission on School Construction can fund school programs in Maryland that address health issues in the school like lead in water, indoor air quality, and temperature regulation.