NWF’s Eco-Schools Programs Gets Even Cooler With New Cool School Challenge program

Carbon Calculator Helps Schools Cut Costs, and Climate Pollution

09-18-2012 // Mary Burnette
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Amid extreme weather events and an ever-increasing need to be vigilant about developing solutions to climate change, educators may be wondering how they can incorporate climate responsibility into their schools’ curricula.

National Wildlife Federation is proud to be the new host of the six-year-old Challenge, a partly student-led program that guides schools through the process of auditing and reducing their carbon emissions by utilizing a classroom carbon calculator.  The program was previously overseen by the Puget Sound (WA) Clean Air Agency.

"The Challenge’s carbon calculator will help schools all over the country gather reliable data about their carbon footprint, and provide guidance on reasonable steps they can take to reduce carbon pollution and save money," said Jennifer Murck, Education Manager for NWF’s Eco-Schools program.

To date, schools participating in the Cool School Challenge have reported potential savings of over 3 million pounds of greenhouse gases. With its new home within the Eco-Schools program, the Challenge can now help even more schools measure – and shrink – their carbon footprints. 

The Cool School Challenge engages students and teachers in practical strategies to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions school-wide, making use of a carbon calculator and other tools to first determine a school’s footprint. A student-led team eventually challenges individual classrooms to reduce their carbon emissions over a set period of time, reporting its results and, after implementing emissions-saving tips, saving the school money on its utility bill.

NWF has incorporated the challenge into the Energy & Climate Change pathway of its Eco-Schools USA program, which recognizes schools for exceptional achievement in ‘greening’ the facilities, grounds, conserving natural resources and integrating environmental education into the curricula and student experience. Over 1,800 schools have implemented the Eco-Schools USA program since NWF became the host in late 2008. 

Related Resources
  • Cool School Challenge
    The Cool School Challenge engages students and teachers in practical strategies to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions school-wide

    Learn more about the Challenge 

  • Eco-Schools USA
    Green your school inside, outside and throughout your curriculum!

    Join over 50 other countries in this international initiative designed to encourage whole-school action for the environment. Become a U.S. Eco-School today!

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