PS 57 in Staten Island Awarded Eco-Schools USA Green Flag for Exceptional "Green" Achievement

School also awarded $25K grant from NYC DOE Sustainability Initiative

03-19-2013 // Aislinn Maestas
PS57 Eco-Schools USA Green Flag award ceremony

PS 57 Hubert H. Humphrey School was recognized today with the Green Flag by National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-Schools USA program for exceptional achievement in conserving natural resources and integrating environmental education into the curriculum. PS 57 is the first school in New York City, and only the 10th in the country, to achieve “Green Flag” status.

The Green Flag is the highest sustainability award a school can achieve through NWF’s Eco-Schools USA program. To win the Green Flag, PS 57’s students and faculty tackled a host of sustainability initiatives, including auditing facility energy efficiency and creating composting, gardening, ecology and recycling programs. These efforts have kept more than 10,000 pounds of paper and milk cartons out of landfills. 

In addition:

  • Students grow fruits and vegetables for the school’s cafeteria in a large outdoor garden.
  • Using 1,500 recycled plastic bottles, students built a greenhouse for growing flowers.
  • The Robotics Team built a solar-powered trike to carry gardening supplies to the garden and Eibs Pond Park—a 17-acre wetland near the school where students plant and care for trees, conduct summer pond clean-ups, and collect water quality data for the U.S. EPA.

Teachers, students and representatives from the NYC Department of Education (DOE) Sustainability Initiative, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, Green Schools Alliance, and the National Wildlife Federation celebrated these accomplishments with an award ceremony at the school. The NYC DOE Sustainability Initiative presented PS 57 with a $25K grant as a reward for their achievements and the U.S. EPA, Region 2 presented teacher Patricia Lockhart with a bronze plaque for the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators.

“Our entire PS 57 family is proud of the outstanding work Ms. Patricia Lockhart has done to implement sustainability initiatives within our school and the Park Hill community,” said PS 57’s Principal Sandra Harrell. “We are honored to be the first NYC school to receive Eco-Schools USA’s Green Flag award, and will continue to use the program’s comprehensive framework to weave environmental education into our curriculum.”

“The EPA is very happy to award Patricia Lockhart the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators, which recognizes her outstanding contribution to environmental education,” said Judith A. Enck, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator. “Ms. Lockhart has successfully integrated environmental studies into the school curriculum and worked with her students to create a garden that serves as a valuable teaching tool and provides habitat for wildlife.”

About NYC Eco-Schools:

The NYC Eco-Schools program was launched in 2012 and has grown from 8 to over 100 schools in less than one year.  NWF Eco-Schools staff have introduced the Eco-Schools program to over 1,000 NYC school Sustainability Coordinators, and trained over 250 to implement the Cool School Challenge, a program to reduce energy use at school. NWF Eco-Schools has also provided small grants to 23 of its schools to complete the Waste and Consumption or Energy Pathways.  A survey of NYC Eco-Schools conducted at the end of 2012 found that 60.6% said they have increased recycling in their schools since implementing the Eco-Schools program; 57.6% have completed an environmental audit; 51.5% have created an outdoor classroom; 42.4% have reduced energy use, and 42.4% reported better student engagement. In 2012, Eco-Schools across the U.S. saved an average of 20% on their energy bills over 2010 usage levels.  This added up to a reduction of 53 million pounds of CO2 and $50 million in saved energy costs for the year - enough to pay for 700 to 800 more full-time educators. To learn more about Eco-Schools USA, visit: www.nwf.org/ecoschools

About NYC DOE:

The New York City Department of Education is the largest system of public schools in the United States, serving about 1.1 million students in over 1,700 schools.

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