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As 2016 comes to an end, it is important to stay connected to the people and places we care about most.  In my world, the schools and communities with whom I work keep me connected to the real mission and vision of the Green Schools National Network (GSNN): to prepare students with the knowledge and skills for a sustainable future. Each time I visit a highly implementing green school, like the Explorer Academy in Huntington, West Virginia, I am reminded how the leaders, teachers, and children in that school reflect the future of this great country. Supporting leaders and teachers in their efforts to create beautiful spaces and a caring and nurturing community, no matter how chaotic the world outside might be, is the foundation of the work we do at GSNN.

And what an exciting year it has been at GSNN! Our work to provide K-12 teachers, administrators, leaders, and professionals with evidence-based resources and tools to grow the green schools movement is made possible because of the people who make up the network and have stepped forward to lead us onward, including:

  • 150 teachers and leaders who have written for our newsletter, GreenNotes, which made a transition this year to a themed, case study-driven, evidence-based publication that shares best practices and resources used by green schools across the country. Speaking of GreenNotes, the e-newsletter reaches 11,800 people each month!
  • 24 bloggers who have blogged for us over the past six months.
  • Our partners at the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council in the transition of the Green Schools National Conference into the Green Schools Conference and Expo.
  • A growing number of individuals, schools, school districts, non-profits, agencies, and corporations who are now proud members of GSNN.
  • 15 members of the Green Schools Catalyst Quarterly Editorial Board who are working to launch this new publication in March 2017.

We can only move forward if we take the time to stop and recognize where we have been and where we are now. With that, I extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has lifted up the green schools movement and made its current momentum possible. You are the leaders of an incredible movement for this generation and future generations. As the year comes to a close, I hope you take some time to reflect on the past and the present, and commit (or re-commit) to keeping the heart and soul of our movement in mind in every action you take.