PS154 Awarded Eco-Schools USA Green Flag for Exceptional 'Green' Achievement

"The Green Flag award places P.S. 154 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."

02-24-2014 // Anne Goddard

Eco-Schools USA logo

P.S. 154 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. P.S. 154 is the second school in New York City, and only the 21st 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 P.S. 154," said Emily Fano, New York City outreach manager for NWF’s Eco-Schools USA program. "The Green Flag award places P.S. 154 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, P.S. 154’s students and faculty tackled a host of sustainability initiatives that included forming an Eco-Action team; auditing facility energy efficiency, implementing a school-wide recycling initiative, with GrowNYC, that increased P.S. 154’s recycling rate by 268% and reduced its trash by 46%, launching a student health and nutrition improvement program, planting a garden, and instituting environmental-themed curricula. In addition, P.S. 154:

  • Worked with GrowNYC to become “Recycling Champions” and “Big Lift” contest winners
  • Started an outdoor garden
  • Formed a 4th and 5th grade student Green Team that hosts monthly meetings, conducts weekly recycling and energy conservation inspections of all classrooms, and mentors younger students about sustainability.
  • Launched CookShop, a Food Bank for New York City program that provides families with cooking skills and nutrition information to promote healthy eating.
  • Participates in the Mighty Milers Program and uses Move to Improve curriculum to infuse exercise within the school day.

Teachers, students, Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, representatives from the NYC Department of Education (DOE) Sustainability Initiative, GrowNYC, CookShop, and the National Wildlife Federation celebrated these accomplishments with an award ceremony at the school.

"I applaud the P.S. 154 community on winning the National Wildlife Federation's Eco-Schools USA Green Flag Award," said Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D, WFP – Fresh Meadows), "Under the leadership of Principal Davidson and her staff, our students followed through on their commitment to increase sustainability and work together to make our schools greener," she said.

The NYC DOE Sustainability Initiative presented P.S. 154 with a $5,000 grant as a reward for their achievements and to expand their sustainability programs.

"Our entire P.S.154 family is proud of the outstanding work Ms. Deise Kenny and our Green Team Students have done to implement sustainability initiatives within our school and community," said P.S. 154’s Principal Tara Davidson. "We are honored to be the second NYC school to receive Eco-Schools USA’s Green Flag award, and will continue to use the program’s comprehensive framework to weave environmental education into our curriculum," Davidson said.

About NWF Eco-Schools in New York City:

The NYC Eco-Schools program was launched in 2012 and has grown from 8 to over 200 schools in about 18 months.  NWF Eco-Schools staff have introduced the Eco-Schools program to over 1,500 NYC DOE school Sustainability Coordinators, and trained over 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 Waste and Consumption or Energy Pathways.  A survey of NYC Eco-Schools conducted at the end of 2012 found that 60.6% said they have increased recycling in their schools since implementing the Eco-Schools program; 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 2012, Eco-Schools across the U.S. saved an average of 20% on their energy bills over 2010 usage levels.  This added up to a reduction of 53 million pounds of CO2 and $50 million in saved energy costs for the year - enough to pay for 700 to 800 more full-time educators. 

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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