HISD Celebrates New Collaboration with National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-Schools USA Program

The Houston Independent School District and NWF's Eco-Schools Program Join Forces Again

10-26-2012 // Mary Burnette
Houston Independent School District

The Houston Independent School District and National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-Schools program have established a new collaboration that will help close achievement gaps for disadvantaged students and improve science and math learning through the use of outdoor environmental education.

The new Eco-Schools USA initiative will expand on the current Schoolyard Habitat program between HISD and NWF. It will also allow for further expansion and development of the Green School Challenge, launched in December 2011, by helping schools make their buildings and campuses more eco-friendly.

HISD Superintendent Terry Grier said this partnership is the latest initiative in HISD’s ongoing commitment to promote green schools. “This collaboration will offer a new, innovative approach to teaching environmental education in a non-traditional classroom setting, while providing students with more opportunities to learn about the importance of protecting our environment, “Dr. Grier said.

At a press conference to announce the collaboration at Westside High, school environmental science and urban agriculture classes and the school’s ecology club were recognized for their accomplishments. Students there worked to restore 1.5 acres of Gulf Coastal Prairie, one of the rarest ecosystems in the nation.

“We’re proud of the work of our students, teachers, and staff at Westside High school and their ongoing efforts to make their campus green,” said HISD Chief Academic Officer Julie Fox Baker. “We’re even more pleased HISD is the largest school district in the country participating in the Eco-Schools USA program.” HISD has 279 schools and more than 203,000 students.

The NWF launched the Eco-Schools USA program in 2009. Nationwide, there are currently 2,000 schools and more than 1 million students registered in the program. NWF’s education efforts annually reach more than 5,000 K-12 schools and nearly 4 million students through a variety of programs.

Houston Independent School District

"We are excited to be working with HISD to advance the district's very ambitious and commendable sustainability goals," said Susan Kaderka, Regional Director for the National Wildlife Federation. "This effort is a win-win for students, for the district, and for the environment. Students will be better prepared for 21st century careers and life choices, teachers will see greater enthusiasm for science and math, and the natural world will benefit from reduced energy and water use and better care from a new generation of environmental stewards.”

This greening move by the HISD comes on the heels of Oregon Green Schools Association establishing a partnership with NWF’s Eco-Schools USA program that will benefit more than 200 schools throughout the state. The partnership will link the Oregon Green Schools Program and Eco-Schools USA so that schools can go through both awards processes: performing environmental audits; “greening” school buildings and grounds; conserving natural resources; and integrating environmental education into curricula. This collaboration offers the support and cumulative expertise of two highly regarded organizations with a unique focus on making schools green while creating good conservation stewards for generations to come.

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.

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