Second Green Flag Eco-School Recognized in Massachusetts for Facilities, Student Leadership

Prestigious honor is only the nation’s fourth overall; recycling and 'power down' efforts highlight award

05-04-2012 // Max Greenberg
Acton Boxborough Regional High School

Acton Boxborough Regional High School was awarded a coveted Eco-Schools USA Green Flag today for student leadership and making its facilities more environmentally sustainable, an effort that has led to a 10% reduction in electricity usage since September 2010 and boosted recycling rates to 250% of last year’s numbers.

“The students and faculty at Acton Boxborough Regional High School should be commended for their extensive efforts to green their school, conserve energy, and promote environmental education,” said Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, who attended the flag-raising event. “This significant recognition they are receiving today is well deserved and an important acknowledgment of their dedication to creating a healthier and more sustainable environment.”

“We are so proud of the work of our students on the Green Council. They have revolutionized our school's approach to sustainability and the environment. As a community we have learned a ton from their efforts,” said Acton Boxborough Principal Alixe Callen. “We look forward to continuing their work in the years to come. This is only the start!”

The work of ‘greening’ the school has included a ‘Power Down Friday’ initiative to make sure equipment and lights are shut off at the end of the school week and projects such as a ‘trash party,’ which allowed an audit of cafeteria waste and reduction of daily cafeteria trash output from forty bags to four. Students are also hard at work creating materials about water conservation, and will be planting a rain garden later this month.

Commendation from Local Leaders

Out of more than 1,270 schools enrolled in the Eco-Schools USA program across 47 states, Acton Boxborough is just the fourth to achieve Green Flag status, the highest possible honor. Boston Latin became the second—and the first in Massachusetts—in 2011. State Rep. Jen BensonState Sen. James Eldridge, Jon Patsavos, Senior Aide for Sen. John Kerry and Denny Drewry, Regional Representative for Sen. Scott Brown, also attended the Acton ceremony.

“I’m so proud of the Acton-Boxborough student body and the phenomenal work the students, under the leadership of Energy Advisor Kate Crosby, have been doing to reduce energy consumption at the high school. I met with three separate student groups from the school over the past year about environmental projects they were working on, and I was impressed with the talent and commitment shown by all of them,” said State Sen. Eldridge. “I’m glad to see A-B getting the recognition it deserves for its dedication to ‘greening’ the school.”

"This is an incredible honor and I am pleased that Acton-Boxborough Regional High School is receiving recognition for their strong dedication to energy conservation and waste reduction,” added State Rep. Benson. “The students deserve extra congratulations for spearheading this effort and demonstrating their commitment to making ABRHS a green, sustainable school."

“The Eco-Schools USA program is at its best when it helps schools put environmental literacy to work in a practical, hands-on way, and Acton-Boxborough has certainly done that,” said Elizabeth Soper, Associate Director of Eco-Schools USA. “The student-run Power Down Project is a wonderful example of sustainable learning in action.”

National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-Schools USA program recognizes schools for exceptional achievement in ‘greening’ the facilities and grounds, conserving natural resources and integrating environmental education into the curricula and student experience. Since NWF became the U.S. host for the international Eco-Schools program in 2008, 22 Massachusetts schools have enrolled.

Related Resources
  • How to Become an Eco-School

    Through school-based action teams of students, administrators, educators and community volunteers, Eco-Schools combines effective "green" management of the school grounds, facilities and the curriculum.

  • The Eight Eco-Schools Pathways

    The Eco-Schools USA program is made up of seven steps, incorporating eight environmental pathways.

  • Current Eco-Schools  

    Check the map to see if your schools are Eco-Schools.