Maspeth High School in Queens Awarded Eco-Schools USA Green Flag for Exceptional 'Green' Achievement

"The Green Flag award places Maspeth among an elite group of schools across the country"

04-25-2014 // Emily Fano

Eco-Schools USA logo

Maspeth High School was recognized with the Green Flag by National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-Schools USA program for conserving natural resources and integrating environmental education into the curriculum. Maspeth is the fifth school in New York City, and only the 25th in the country, to achieve “Green Flag” status.

"We at National Wildlife Federation and Eco-Schools USA are proud of the example set by the students and teachers at Maspeth High School,” said Emily Fano, New York City outreach manager for NWF’s Eco-Schools USA program. “The Green Flag award places Maspeth among an elite group of schools across the country that are improving their schools by reducing energy costs and waste, greening school grounds, and nurturing student-scientists through hands-on learning."

To win the Green Flag, and led by biology teacher Aaron Bell, Maspeth Green Club students have:

  • Conducted facility-wide audits for waste and recycling, energy, and water use.
  • Initiated a study of the school’s heating and cooling systems to identify inefficiencies.
  • Conducted recycling Town Hall assemblies, set up recycling bins, energy saving tips, and recycling messages in every classroom in the school and launched indoor and outdoor composting programs.
  • Won the citywide and borough wide 2013 Golden Apple Award for recycling and reducing waste.
  • Won the borough wide DSNY 2012 Golden Apple award for community beautification initiatives.
  • Designed educational recycling games for the school's Halloween carnival.
  • Grown hydroponic produce in the science lab, and created an indoor learning garden (to align with the Living Environment curriculum and to study nutrition and sustainable agriculture).
  • Created an outdoor garden (with plans for a greenhouse), and planted several trees on campus.

"I applaud the students and faculty at Maspeth High School for their exemplary efforts in promoting environmental and social sustainability," said Council member Elizabeth Crowley. "These students have shown how young people can be real leaders in their communities and make an impact that will last generations. We will continue to work together to plant more trees and inspire our neighbors to help keep our community green," she said"

For the past two years, in keeping with their commitment to community service, Maspeth Green Club students and staff have teamed up with Council member Crowley's office to give away two hundred trees as part of the MillionTreesNYC campaign. They have collaborated with both Ms. Crowley’s office, the Glendale Civic Association, and the Juniper Civic Association on community beautification projects such as "Love Your Neighbor" Earth Day events at Edsall Avenue, graffiti and trash removal in Maspeth and Middle Village, as well as daffodil plantings with Maspeth Federal Savings Bank.

Students also created three anti-litter Public Service Announcements for the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, and were awarded with the "greatest participation" plaque at the Ban the [Plastic] Bag Conference (2013) and attended the S.T.O.P Bags Conference (2014), both at The Hewitt School, a fellow NYC Eco-School. They have launched persuasive letter-writing campaigns for a fee on plastic bags, as well as to press for community improvements like procuring a dumpster to contain unsightly trash bags.

"It’s amazing to see how Mr. Bell started with a group of three dedicated students just over two years ago and, through his dedication and hard work, MHS Green Club now has over 30 environmentally conscious young leaders," said Maspeth High School’s Principal Khurshid Abdul-Mutakabbir.

Teachers, student Green Club members, Council member Elizabeth Crowley, representatives from State Senator Joe Addabbo’s office, the NYC DOE Sustainability Initiative, and the National Wildlife Federation celebrated these accomplishments with an award ceremony at the school.  The event included a presentation by student Green Club members, summarizing the school’s Eco-Schools program implementation as well as other green initiatives.  The NYC DOE Sustainability Initiative presented Maspeth High School with a $5,000 grant as a reward for their achievements and to expand their sustainability programs.

Green Flag Event Details:

Approximately 30 student Green Club members, Council member Elizabeth Crowley, representatives for State Senator Joe Addabbo and the NYC Department of Education Sustainability Initiative will be at the Green Flag event on Friday, April 25, 2014, 3:00pm to 4:15pm at Maspeth High School, 54-40 74th St, New York, NY 11378.

About NWF Eco-Schools in New York City:

The NYC Eco-Schools program was launched in 2012 and has grown from 8 to more than 210 schools in about 18 months.  NWF Eco-Schools staff have introduced the Eco-Schools program to more than 1,500 NYC DOE school Sustainability Coordinators, and trained more than 500 to implement the Cool School Challenge, a program to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions at school.  NWF Eco-Schools has also provided small grants to 37 of its schools to complete the program’s Consumption and Waste or Energy Pathways.  A survey of NYC Eco-Schools conducted at the end of 2012 found that 60.6% said they have increased recycling, 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 their schools since implementing the Eco-Schools program;;In 2012, Eco-Schools across the U.S. saved 53 million pounds of CO2 and $50 million in energy costs for the year - enough to pay for 700 to 800 more full-time educators. To learn more about Eco-Schools USA, visit:

About National Wildlife Federation:

National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest conservation organization inspiring people to protect wildlife for our children’s future.

About NYC DOE Sustainability Initiative:

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. In order to continue to be the leader in sustainable education and operation of sustainable facilities, the DOE plans to double its annual recycling rate, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2017, and to provide sustainable curriculum resources to principals and teachers.  For more information, visit the NYC DOE Sustainability Initiative website.


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