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

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