The Natural Resources Foundation is a proud supporter of Green & Healthy Schools Wisconsin, a program that empowers, supports and recognizes schools for nurturing healthy kids and sustainable communities. Schools that participate are recognized for their commitments to sustainability, and see benefits including reducing environmental impacts and costs, improving health and wellness, and increasing environmental and sustainability literacy.

One of the first of its kind, this program is administered through a partnership between the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Public Instruction, and the Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education, and is supported by the Wisconsin Sustainable Schools Coalition (WSSC)_. A member of this coalition, NRF has provided capacity building support for Green & Healthy Schools  and funded its programs and initiatives, including providing school districts with information and tools to become more environmentally friendly.

Schools are eligible for recognition in the Green & Healthy Schools Wisconsin program if they are actively reducing environmental impact and costs, improving the wellness of staff and students, and increasing environmental literacy, according to the Department of Public Instruction’s environmental education consultant Victoria Rydberg. Green & Healthy Schools recognizes “green schools” at different levels (Sprout, Seedling, Sapling, and Sugar Maple), depending on requirements met and achievements made by the school. The program focuses on nine areas:

  • Community involvement
  • Energy
  • Environmental and sustainability education
  • Environmental health (indoor air quality, chemical management, integrated pest management)
  • Health and wellness
  • Recycling and waste management
  • School site
  • Transportation
  • Water

Home to many distinguished Sugar Maple (the highest level of recognition) schools, Wisconsin’s very own Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District was one of 14 districts to receive the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools Sustainability Award in 2015. Schools within the district have continued to receive national attention since then, as the only district in the state to hold multiple Green Ribbon honorees at a time.

Green & Healthy Schools Wisconsin provides tremendous benefits to schools, by reducing environmental impacts and costs, improving the health and wellness of students and staff, and providing environmental and sustainability education.  Other benefits of getting involved with Green & Healthy Schools Wisconsin include:

  • A healthier, safer learning environment
  • An increased sense of ownership by teachers, students, and staff in the school
  • Economic savings associated with reduced consumption and operating costs
  • Increased protection of natural resources
  • Increased connections between the community and the school
  • Use of the school site and facilities as a teaching tool

 

NRF is proud to support this important program, and other statewide environmental education initiatives.
Interested in helping a school you know become recognized in Green & Healthy Schools Wisconsin? To start, Growing a Green & Healthy School: A Guide for Schools outlines the process for recognition, provides suggestions for creating and sustaining a team, and gives essential tips and ideas to become a successfully green and healthy school. .

Help support environmental education programs and initiatives in Wisconsin. Make a donation today by dedicating your gift to Environmental Education.

Blog contributed by Hibah Ansari

A Walk Through Time and Hemlocks

All of this beautiful snow here in Madison reminds me of a winter trip I took to northern Wisconsin, when I had the opportunity to explore a new place: Germain Hemlocks State Natural Area in Oneida County.

Grant from REI makes a deep impact at Wisconsin’s beloved Devil’s Lake State Park

Devil’s Lake State Park is one of the most highly visited and cherished public properties in Wisconsin. Funding from REI was used to complete critical restoration activities.

NRF co-founder retires from board after more than 30 years

Ron Semmann helped create the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin while working at the Department of Natural Resources in 1986 and has served on the Board ever since. Ron is now ready to enjoy a much-deserved retirement and offers this message to all NRF members, partners, staff, and board.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion in conservation

It is vitally and increasingly important to consider diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in our changing world. According to data from the 2010 U.S. Census, more than 25 percent of children in Wisconsin are people of color. That means the future of conservation depends upon making conservation relevant and meaningful to all Wisconsinites.

Wisconsin’s threatened reptiles

We have 36 species of reptiles in Wisconsin and more than half of them are listed as endangered, threatened, or a species of special concern. These animals are vulnerable and critically important to the health and balance of our ecosystems.

2018 CD Besadny Conservation Grant Awardees

The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin has awarded $28,043 to 30 organizations across Wisconsin through the C.D. Besadny Conservation Fund. The fund annually awards grants up to $1,000 that support grassroots conservation and education projects.

Jim Hlaban recognized as water hero

You can tell a lot about Jim Hlaban’s commitment to conservation from his email signature: “If we don’t do it, who will?” Jim and his wife, Mary, recently made a commitment to protect Wisconsin’s waters into perpetuity by creating the Wisconsin Water Protection Fund, which will make annual grants to numerous conservation organizations working to protect water resources across the state.

From climate-change denier to conservationist

Like many Wisconsinites, there was a time when Joey believed the environmental movement to be at odds with business and personal-property rights. Today, Joey integrates green practices into his business—Heinrichs Home Comfort, a residential HVAC company. Joey’s commitment to conservation might mean a lower profit margin, but he takes pride in knowing that he’s contributing to energy efficiency.

Conservation in a Can

The Giving Brewery is a partnership between Octopi Brewing and 105.5 Triple M. Together they create and market exceptional craft brews that support different nonprofit organizations like the Natural Resources Foundation.

Wisconsin Master Naturalist Volunteer Training: An inside look

The Wisconsin Master Naturalist Program was launched in 2013 and since then an incredible 663 volunteers have already been trained, contributing more than 55,000 hours of service in their communities. Our own Caitlin Williamson recently added her name to this list and shares her story.