Top 10 Eco-Schools
Eco-Schools USA engages school communities from coast to coast and from cities to rural communities in creating and implementing healthy solutions for sustainable education. In recognition of the incredible efforts for wildlife protection, sustainability, and environmental education across the nation, National Wildlife Federation is recognizing America’s Top 10 Eco-Schools.
Many of these schools are representative of entire districts working to become more eco-friendly; combined, the top 10 saved $207,914.75 in energy, water, and waste diverted or saved. If every American public and private school saved at even a quarter of this rate, savings would total nearly $675 million nationally. At the same rate, the savings would total $2.7 billion!
Learn a bit more about these incredible schools and see their students in action below:
The Academy for Global Citizenship (AGC) is a Chicago public charter school on the city's industrial southwest side. At AGC, a commitment to sustainability unites the curriculum, culture and operations. AGC has addressed all 10 of the Eco-Schools USA pathways, and works to inspire sustainability in the district and beyond through a sustainable schools handbook and the development of the Midwest’s first energy net positive school campus, in partnership with Studio Gang.
Alder Ave Middle School has been engaged in creating a healthy, energy-efficient school environment that incorporates environmental and sustainability practices at all grade levels since 2000. This green flag school has address 7 of the 10 Eco-Schools USA pathways and has saved more than 1.3 million kWh of energy, preventing 20,763 lbs of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere. The school has also cut waste by over 22,000 lbs and has developed a community teaching garden.
The Brooklyn New School is an elementary school with a dedicated core curriculum centered on sustainability that has been in use for more than a decade. It is a Green Flag school that has addressed 6 of the 10 pathways, and students spend an average of 200 minutes per week learning outdoors. Teachers focus on experimental, hands-on instruction, and creating a healthy environment for all students.
Centreville Elementary has earned not one but two Green Flags, showing dedication to multiple facets of sustainable environmental education. Since its work with Eco-Schools USA has commenced, the school has reduced its energy use by 20 percent and has expanded its outdoor learning classrooms that are now home to a wide variety of life: praying mantises, ladybugs, bees, spiders and butterflies, goldfinches and bluebirds.
EARTHS Magnet School for K-5 has a curriculum that is interwoven with environmental science and technology. The school grounds have extensive gardens, mirroring California's biomes, and students spend an average of 45 minutes per week in outdoor learning. EARTHS is also part of the Eco-Campus Partnership Program, with a sister school in Taiwan.
Eisenhower High School has an all-around approach to the Eco-Schools USA pathways, addressing 9 of the 10 paths. The school is also a Kansas Green School and a certified Monarch Way Station. Students spend an average of 125 minutes per week in outdoor learning, and the campus has 300 culturally significant plants and grasses in their outdoor space that’s cut the need for water. Eisenhower is also a Project Learning Tree Green School.
Clint Small Middle School's Green Tech Academy earned Texas' first Green Flag. Students created an extensive garden, planting more than 300 native plant species. The campus also has an outdoor classroom, a greenhouse, a chicken coop, composting, recycling, water-harvesting, and a Japanese garden. Twenty-five percent of the school's food is produced locally.
Heritage Elementary promotes sustainability throughout the greater community, hosting events and acting as an example for other schools. Twenty percent of the school’s food is produced locally, and the grounds have a garden and innovation space to immerse students in sustainable learning. Areas of focus include compositing, recycling, and water and energy conservation.
JC Parks Elementary has achieved Green Flag status, US Department of Education Green Ribbon status and is also a Maryland Green School. Parks jump-started its sustainability efforts with the installation of an outdoor classroom and transformation of school grounds, and incorporates native plants and permeable pavers in its landscape, as well as recycling, composting, and renewable energy programs.
Jitta Bug Learning Center is the first pre-school in the country to achieve Green Flag status with Eco-Schools USA, and has addressed 6 of the 10 pathways. The center has extensive outdoor play and outdoor learning for its toddler and pre-k students and is also a "Let's Move" child care center. The center uses 100% healthy cleaning products and has reduced its water use significantly.
Charles Patton Middle School is the first school in Pennsylvania to receive the Eco-Schools USA Green Flag. They are also a US Department of Education Green Ribbon School. Over 90% of the grounds at Patton are devoted to gardens, wildlife habitat, and outdoor learning classrooms. Patton also has a composting program, solar array, protected wetlands, and classes that go outside to explore nature and conduct science experiments. In July 2015, the PA Green and Healthy Schools Partnership adopted the Eco-Schools USA Framework statewide, so we will begin to see many more campuses like Patton in the near future!
The National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-Schools USA challenges schools to conduct an environmental audit, formulate an action plan, and engage the entire community in implementing solutions for the health and sustainability of the school. Learn about the path to becoming an Eco-School here.
Read more about our Top 10 Eco-Schools on our Media Center.