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Program Changes

Exciting changes are coming to the Eco-Schools USA program beginning in the 2023-2024 school year. Modeled on a successful system implemented by our northern neighbors, EcoSchools Canada, the reenvisioned program will see a streamlined website experience, action plans created by student-led teams and made up of user-friendly action cards, centering equitable nature-based solutions. Data collected will be easily available and will reflect the school’s collective impact over time. There will be several important areas of change users will see with the redesigned program, starting with a name change to Eco Schools U.S. and a logo refresh! 

Update #1:

Important things to note:

  • All active schools that registered between August 2020 and June 2023 will be automatically registered into the new system.
  • In addition, schools that have earned a Green Flag at any time will be moved over to the new dashboard. Green Flag schools will see school information and Green Flag awards. Documents, photos, and badges for any current registered Eco-School (including Green Flag schools) will not transfer to the new dashboard. With that in mind, we ask schools to download any necessary data from the current dashboard before July 1, 2023.
  • If you are currently working towards a Green Flag award, please submit your application by June 30, 2023, in order not to lose your school’s progress.
  • Annual registration will be required.
  • Action plans will be submitted in the spring for review and certification. 
  • Extensive opportunities for both live and recorded training sessions for educators will be available beginning in August.

Bookmark this page and check back over the next few months for details about a refresh of the Seven Step Framework, the reorganization of the existing pathway structure into three familiar themes, and the revised point-based certification structure.

Update #2 (5.31.23):

In addition to the information listed above, here are additional details regarding changing components of the program for fall. 

The familiar Seven Step Framework remains the central focus of the EcoSchools U.S.  program. The revised EcoSchools Framework will serve as a guide for implementation and certification, and be an integral part of each action card.

  • Authentically Engage the Community
  • Form an Action Team
  • Develop an Action Plan
  • Take Action, Collect Data, Measure Impact, and Share Stories
  • Monitor and Evaluate Progress
  • Identify Curriculum Connections
  • Celebrate, Reflect, and Create an Eco Code

The existing 12 pathways will be refashioned into opportunities for student voice, leadership, and action with familiar topics such as recycling, climate resiliency, school gardens, food waste, watersheds, and more. The pathways will be reorganized into three themes: Climate, Biodiversity and Wildlife, and Resilient and Healthy Communities.

User-friendly, self-selected Action Cards will form the basis of the Action Plan from which school activities will unfold. Action card implementation will range in intensity. As an example, one action card may focus on a simple litter cleanup, while another could focus on designing and building a schoolyard habitat.  
Action cards will contain the following:

  • a brief action description;
  • connections to curriculum;
  • connections to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);
  • an action implementation guide;
  • internal and external resources; and
  • a list of certification questions.

Registration for 2023-2024 will open on Friday, 9/1/23. In addition, expect to see a streamlined version of our refreshed website in late summer. 

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More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. The National Wildlife Federation is on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 53 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.

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