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You may have heard the term ‘Green Ribbon Schools’. The Green Ribbon Schools prestigious awards program was created by the U.S. Department of Education in 2011 with the aim of recognizing select K–12 schools, K–12 districts and postsecondary institutions for a deep commitment to sustainability. ‘The award is a communications tool to encourage state education, health, and environment authorities, stakeholders, and school communities to consider matters of facilities, health and environment comprehensively, strengthening the critical collaborations that ensure all of our nation’s schools are healthier, safer, and more sustainable.’

The recipients for 2019 have just been named. Natural Pod congratulates this years recipients of the Green Ribbon Schools program. From 26 states across the United States there are 35 schools, 14 districts, and four postsecondary institutions being honored for their innovative efforts and leadership in addressing the three “Pillars” of the program:

  • Pillar One: reducing environmental impact, such as waste, water, energy, greenhouse gases, and transportation, encompassing the areas of school facilities, grounds, and operations.
  • Pillar Two: improving health and wellness by promoting a healthy physical environment (including aspects such as air quality, contaminant control, moisture control, acoustics, daylighting, pest management, and thermal comfort) and student and staff wellness practices (such as healthy school food and outdoors physical activity).
  • Pillar Three: offering effective environmental and sustainability education, including civic learning, green careers, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) connections.

“I want to congratulate this year’s U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School honorees,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “They have truly embraced the challenge to create healthy, safe, sustainable and efficient learning environments for students, faculty, and staff. Their innovative approaches to learning will help students prepare for the opportunities and challenges of the 21st Century.”

The honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 28 states. The selectees include 25 public schools – among them, three magnet schools and two charter schools – as well as 10 nonpublic schools. Thirty-six percent of the 2019 honorees serve a disadvantaged student body. The diversity of this year’s awardees proves that any school can make meaningful strides in improving the sustainability and health of school facilities, ensuring lifelong nutrition and fitness practices. It also engages students in real-world learning that equips them with the skills to lead a sustainable future.

A Green School Need Not Be Newly Constructed: To ensure that the award highlights diverse examples of sustainability, the competition assesses candidates based on resources available to them, rather than in comparison to each other. In fact, the award has, over the years, highlighted many older school constructions engaged in low-cost, but highly effective, retrofits and behavioral change. All of these are steps that any school community can undertake, without a new construction that is designed specifically to be resource efficient and environmentally healthy. In this way, the award has helped to educate the public about the broad applicability of green school practices, in both old and new buildings. Another important consequence of the award has been the refinement of various national and state-specific green schools programs that the award has spurred. States have realigned pre-existing state green schools programs, built new ones, and now recognize runners-up beyond those they nominate to ED, in order to create pathways to the national award, broaden recognition within individual states, and incentivize more change.

Natural Pod strongly supports the Green Ribbon Schools Program as we have always had a deep commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainability. We truly care about how our learning environment products are made. We care about the materials, where they come from, who crafted them, and what else they can be. All our wood products are made with FSC® C012337-certified materials and are ethically manufactured. We provide a product that is, not only long lasting, but also recyclable and compostable at the end of its life-cycle.

As a company these are the values we stand by:

  • We believe in healthy safe inspiring learning environments for students and educators.
  • We believe that better learning environments enrich play, learning and collaboration.
  • We believe well designed beautiful furniture and spaces foster creativity and innovation.
  • We believe purpose driven business encourages conscious consumption.
  • We believe in protecting our forests and their eco-systems.

For further information on the Green Ribbon Schools Program: