Green Schools Certification Categories
Waste: Learn to reduce, reuse, recycle, and rot (compost) to decrease the waste that goes to landfills. The green team will identify ways for the school community to eliminate and divert waste, teaching students and staff to use less and recycle properly. This might include separating food scraps in the cafeteria so that they can be composted and turned into a fabulous soil amendment to grow more food. This is a great opportunity for the school community to recognize how much waste we generate, learn where garbage goes once it is collected, improve school-wide recycling practices, and reflect on consumption and packaging.
Water: Learn where the water that you drink comes from and ways to protect our storm water. Learn how simple best management practices can reduce the pollutants that enter through storm water runoff. Spend time analyzing where storm water goes and possible pollutants that can enter the storm water stream. Find ways to reduce the use of potable water and promote conscientious water use.
School Grounds: Learn how to incorporate school grounds and gardens into academic curricula. Start an edible garden, eliminate the use of pesticides, or plant native species and remove invasive species; these are some examples of projects that integrate the outdoor classroom and even foster collaboration with the district maintenance staff. Others have built trails on campus and removed graffiti to care for the grounds and connect to nature. Click here to find activity sheets, ideas for projects and teacher resource fact sheet (click on the Schools tab).
Transportation: Learn about pollution caused by vehicles and about alternative transportation methods. Promote safe walking and biking to school, carpooling, and educate about idling engines. Empower students to make smarter transportation choices.
Energy: Learn how your school is heated and what energy sources are used in order for the school to function and serve its students every day. Examine the cost of energy consumption and discover ways the school can lessen its energy footprint. Often, students complete an energy audit, encourage conservation, or may establish an energy efficient purchasing policy.
Healthy Buildings: Learn what indoor air pollutants may exist in the school, what cleaners the staff use, or even where the food is grown that is served in the cafeteria. Examining the items and supplies used in the school can be enlightening and making small changes to more environmentally friendly products can create a healthier indoor environment. Projects can range from investigating vents to improve air circulation to working with staff to establish an Integrated Pest Management program.