Mary Rieke Elementary School Wins Eco-Schools USA Green Flag
Award is eighth in the country, first in the state of Oregon
At their very first school wide assembly of the new year, Mary Rieke Elementary School in Portland received the first Eco-Schools Green Flag Award in Oregon. To earn this honor the school has developed and implemented three Eco-Schools pathways - energy, biodiversity, and consumption/waste. The Rieke Student Council, the student EcoThink Club, and parent/community member lead Green Team have conducted and reported audits of lunch waste, selectively changed lightbulbs to save energy, and participated in a full school planting to create the Wilson/Rieke Arboretum.
This effort has lead to financial savings for the school and increased environmental awareness in their community. These amazing efforts were celebrated by the whole school, with highlights presented by their supportive principal Mrs. Porter, Portland School District staff and school board members, and dedicated parent volunteer and EcoThink Advisor Dr, Rapasky.
“Having the award celebration at the very first assembly of the year, expressed their ‘green school’ commitment and set the stage for the rest of the school year to the students, staff, and parents," said Courtney Sullivan, Education Manager at NWF's Pacific Regional Center.
Sullivan presented the Green Flag to the students of the EcoThink team. Community partners, from Portland Parks and Recreation and the neighborhood middle school, came to celebrate as well. Mary Rieke Elementary will next tackle a project on the school grounds pathway creating a Schoolyard Habitat and outdoor classroom.
National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-Schools USA program recognizes schools for exceptional achievement in ‘greening’ the facilities, grounds, conserving natural resources and integrating environmental education into the curricula and student experience. Nearly 2,000 schools have implemented the Eco-Schools USA program since NWF became the host in late 2008, with a number of schools earning Bronze- and Silver-level awards for their progress. Mary Rieke will be eighth school in the U.S. to receive the highest level of award – the Green Flag.
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.