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September 29, 2011
For Immediate Release
Contact: Jason Gleason or 202-225-4016
Sarbanes Announces Nomination Process for Green Ribbon Schools Program
Washington, D.C. – Today the Department of Education announced final criteria for the Green Ribbon Schools recognition initiative. Modeled after the successful Blue Ribbon Schools program that recognizes overall academic excellence, the Green Ribbon Schools program is the first of its kind to honor private and public K-12 schools that promote environmental education and stewardship.
“The schoolchildren of today are our future scientists, environmental stewards, and national leaders,” said Congressman John Sarbanes. “Research shows that hands on environmental education has a measurably positive impact on student achievement in science, reading, math, and across the curriculum.”
Sarbanes is the author of the No Child Left Inside Act, which authorizes new funding for states to provide high-quality, environmental instruction. Funds would support outdoor learning activities both at school and in non-formal environmental education centers, teacher professional development, and the creation of state environmental literacy plans.
“Our goal is to encourage all of our nation’s schools and communities to work towards a future where school facilities have no adverse environmental impact, have a positive effect on students’ health, and enable students to become environmentally literate citizens who we are well prepared for the 21st century economy,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
The Green Ribbon Schools award is intended to encourage our nation’s schools and communities to promote healthy and sustainable environments and educate students to become environmentally literate citizens. This new program will take advantage of the experience of efforts already underway in communities across the country by encouraging schools to implement energy conservation measures and undertake environmental and behavioral changes in schools. Through these efforts, the program seeks to ensure the health, wellness and productivity of students, teachers, and staff, and promote environmental education that supports students’ strong civic skills, environmental stewardship and workforce preparedness.
"Robust environmental education will prepare students to be 21st Century innovators – developing technologies that are crucial to the future health of the environment and the American economy," Sarbanes added. “I am thrilled that the Department of Education has brought this new focus to environmental education.”
The Green Ribbon Schools program is a partnership between the Department of Education, the Center for Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency. Nominations will be accepted through the fall and award winners will be announced on Earth Day 2012. For more information on the application process, please visit the blog run by the Department of Education.
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