Eco-Schools Receive “Green Flags” for Sustainability
RESTON, VA. – The National Wildlife Federation has bestowed it’s 100th Green Flag Award, a national honor given only to top schools that show exceptional leadership, education and action on school and community environmental conservation and education. The distinction was given by Eco-Schools USA, a K-12 school sustainability program of the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), America’s largest wildlife conservation and education organization.
Eco-Schools is an international program of the Denmark-based Foundation for Environmental Education, FEE. FEE is recognized by UNESCO as a world-leader within the fields of Environmental Education and Education for Sustainable Development. FEE believes in positive change on a global scale through hands-on action across the world through five ground breaking programs that help communities realize the benefits of sustainable living. The National Wildlife Federation is the sole host and operator of the Eco-Schools program in the United States.
NWF Eco-Schools USA is a national program combining the effective green management of school grounds, facilities, and curriculum to empower today’s students for a sustainable tomorrow. This program reaches 3 million PK-12 students across the country. The children in these schools are learning science and practical skills by working in teams on energy audits, setting up recycling programs, creating school gardens, planting trees and wildlife habitats, saving water and food waste and more.
The Green Flag award is the top award an Eco-School can receive, and must be evaluated by an Eco-Schools USA assessor and renewed every two years. A school is considered to be a permanent Eco-School once it has gained its fourth Green Flag, as it is believed a school's culture has changed to include sustainability as a binding thread of its fabric, as important as academics and student safety.
“It has been very rewarding to see the program expand and reach so many schools across the country over the past 9 years,” remarked Kevin Coyle, Vice President of Education, National Wildlife Federation. “There are over 5,000 Eco-Schools in the country and just 100 have achieved Green Flag status. This shows just how challenging and prestigious this award is for the schools. We are seeing terrific work by most of the registered Eco-Schools so we know we will see many more schools achieve the Green Flag in the next couple of years.”
To be awarded the Green Flag, students and faculty utilize the Eco-Schools seven step framework to tackle a host of sustainability initiatives that begin with forming an Eco-Action team; auditing facility energy efficiency, waste disposal and other environmental impact areas; engaging the community and instituting environmental-themed curricula. These steps lead to the implementation of student-led projects all designed to raise environmental awareness, cut waste, increase student academic achievement and save money for the school. To be eligible for the prestigious Green Flag award, schools must complete at least three of the twelve Eco-Schools Pathways of Sustainability.
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