Where We've Been and What We Accomplished this Year

National Wildlife Federation is proud to host the Eco-Schools program in the United States.  This internationally acclaimed program provides a framework to help educators integrate sustainable principles throughout their schools and curricula. When a school registers, it joins an international network of schools and students in over 50 countries.

We’re happy to share with you our coverage of the places we’ve been and the progress we made in 2011, the second full year of Eco-Schools USA. 

Total registered Eco-Schools (since USA program inception): 784 in 46 states plus DC
Students served: 480,788
Green Flag Award Schools:  3
Silver Award Schools:  17
Bronze Award Schools:  54
Title I or Free/Subsidized Lunch Program schools:  60%
Average facility expense savings per school: 10-30%
Program fee: $0

Click on the following links to read accompanying blog posts and web pages from the Eco-Schools USA team:

In 2011, where in the world was the Eco-Schools team?

• London, England for the Foundation for Environmental Education’s General Assembly event
• San Francisco for the National Science Teachers Association Area Conference
• Washington, DC for the 2nd NASA/Eco-Schools USA Climate Change Connections professional development institute 
• Tampa, Florida for the NAESP National Conference
• Savannah, Georgia for the first Green Flag Award
• Boston, Massachusetts for the second Green Flag Award
• Fairfax, Virginia for the third Green Flag Award
• Krakow, Poland for the Eco-Schools National Operators Meeting
• Ventura County, CA for an educator focus group

2011 Monthly Milestones:

• In January, we hosted an HSBC Eco-Schools Climate Initiative Training in Buffalo with ten schools and 20 HSBC volunteers, and provided downloadable participation certificates for Eco-Action Team members on our website.

• In February, we met with the Arlington County, VA School Superintendents about the Eco-Schools USA program. Under a Motorola grant, we also hosted a retreat with staff from two Eco-Schools partner organizations, Earth Force in Philadelphia and Earth Partnership for Schools in Chicago. Together we laid out a plan to advance Eco-Schools in both cities for the 2011-2013 school years.

• In March, we debuted the “Sustainable Schools” webinar series with an Introduction to Eco-Schools USA, hosted the second HSBC Eco-Schools Climate Initiative Training in Chicago with ten schools and 12 volunteers, and presented and exhibited at the national NSTA meeting in San Francisco.  Also, Suzanne Middle School participated in the LA County Environmental Fair and talked about the wonderful work they are doing as part of the Eco-Schools USA program.

• In April, we awarded the USA’s first Green Flag to the Savannah Country Day School in Savannah, GA, and hosted the Fairfax County Public Schools Kids Inquiry Conference (KIC) at NWF Headquarters in Reston, VA.  We also exhibited at the National Association of Elementary School Principals in Tampa, FL.

•  In May, we conducted our Eco-Schools USA second year survey with registered Eco-Schools and hosted a webinar on “How to Implement Eco-Schools USA on a Tight Budget.”

• In June, we awarded the USA’s second Green Flag to the Boston Latin School, the country’s oldest public school. We also awarded the third American Green Flag to the Lanier Middle School in Fairfax, VA. John Summers, our FEE and US Eco-Schools mentor, visited us from Scotland.  We entered into a Memo of Agreement with EarthCare to pilot Eco-Schools on the ground in Santa Fe, NM, and participated in the Maryland Green School Youth Summit, an event that recognized the efforts of Green Schools and provided over 4,000 students with hands-on watershed education activities.

•  In July, we conducted our second NASA/Eco-Schools USA Climate Change Connections professional development institute in Washington, DC with teachers from New Mexico, Alaska, Georgia, Puerto Rico and Ireland. We also entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with Fairfax County Public Schools, the 12th largest school district in the country, on the Eco-Schools USA and Schoolyard Habitats programs.  Over the course of the summer, one of our Eco-Schools’ teachers visited other Eco-Schools in New Zealand, Malaysia, and Turkey.  And, we co-presented with the Washington Green Schools (WAGS) at the Summer Environmental Sustainability Institute on Bainbridge Island, Washington.

• In August, we embarked on partnership discussions with several state-based Green Schools programs including Maryland Green Schools and Kansas Green Schools and conducted a “Back to School with Eco-Schools USA” webinar as well as an educator focus group in Ventura County, CA.  Our August case study featured a student-run effort in the Great Lakes region to reduce plastics in schools.

• During September’s back-to-school season, the program unveiled its Wrigley’s Litterless campaign with 25 participating schools across country. The Green Ribbon Schools recognition program was announced by the Dept of Education, CEQ, and EPA.

• In October we attended the National Operators Meeting in Krakow, Poland.  We also highlighted once again the work that Sleepy Hollow Middle School is doing in a case study providing an update on how they are helping their school and community embrace sustainability.

• In November, Jean Tufts joined our team as our Eco-Schools Coordinator working in the Northeast.  We also held our Eco-Schools USA Core Team retreat in Reston, VA, and began work on a three-year strategic plan for the program. We also co-hosted several workshops in Oregon with Oregon Green Schools. Also, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment recognized Eco-Schools USA as equivalent to the environmental management system required to be eligible for an award through their Environmental Leadership Program.

• In December, Eco-Schools is traveling to Taiwan and Hong Kong on an EPA mission regarding sustainability education and will be debuting a new Pathway:  Healthy Schools!!

Official Team Portrait 2011We expect 2012 to be another big year for the Eco-Schools USA program in terms of new registrants, improved test scores, new Pathways, and cost savings for schools.  Continue to follow our progress on the Eco-Schools USA Facebook page and Twitter feed.  You may also subscribe to the RSS feed of Eco-Schools USA stories on Wildlife Promise.

Happy New Year From the Eco-Schools USA Team!

(from left to right: Jennifer Hammonds, Jen Murck, Laura Hickey, Liz Soper and Kate Hofmann)

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