PLT GreenSchools Honored as Green Ribbon Schools

May 10, 2017

5th graders at Moriarty Environmental Sciences Magnet School investigate biodiversity in Mohegan Park Pond (photo submitted with Moriarty’s Green Ribbon Schools nomination)

Project Learning Tree is thrilled that 9 PLT GreenSchools and one school district are among the 45 schools, 9 school districts, and 9 institutions of higher education recognized this year as U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS).

The awards acknowledge the innovative efforts of students, teachers, and school administrators across the country who are working to reduce their school’s environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education. These schools, districts, and institutions of higher education are models of 21st century excellence as they inspire others with examples of practices and resources to make schools greener and healthier.


PLT GreenSchools Honored as 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools

  • Connecticut – Moriarty Environmental Sciences Magnet School, Norwich, CT
  • Florida – Surfside Elementary School, Satellite Beach, FL
  • Kentucky – Morton Middle School, Lexington, KY
  • Louisiana – Mayfair Laboratory School, Baton Rouge, LA
  • Nebraska – Chandler View Elementary School, Omaha, NE
  • New Jersey – Long Branch Middle School, Long Branch, NJ
  • North Carolina –Tarawa Terrace Elementary School , Tarawa Terrace, NC
  • Wisconsin
    • Houlton Elementary School, Houlton, WI
    • Kromrey Middle School, Kromrey, WI

In addition, Washburn School District in Wisconsin is a 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools District Sustainability Awardee.


Three Highlights

Here are highlights from three PLT GreenSchools recognized this year as U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools.

Moriarty Environmental Sciences Magnet School in Norwich, CT seeks to create students that are passionate environmental stewards and collaborative problem solvers who understand the importance of sustainability and technology. One of their greatest accomplishments has been the creation and inclusion of outdoor learning spaces into the curriculum. These include: a community garden, natural wildlife habitat, local bodies of water, butterfly garden, sidewalk gardens to create more permeable surfaces, and an outdoor classroom pavilion.

Surfside Elementary in Satellite Beach, FL, which uses PLT and 4-H to shape their environmental education curriculum and policies, utilizes environmental impact as a central focus of the school’s operations. Over the past 5 years, Surfside has reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by 45% and 15% of their solid waste is diverted from landfill/incineration through recycling efforts. Students feed vegetable scraps daily to chickens, ducks, geese and turkey, and the manure from the poultry run is used to fertilize fruit trees.

Long Branch Middle School in Long Branch, NJ collects 300 Megawatt hours yearly from solar panels installed on the school roofs and atop the car ports in the parking lots. As a result of various initiatives, this school has saved their district over 2 million dollars.


A report with highlights on all 63 awardees can be found here. “These honorees are ensuring that their students learn to live, work, and play with sustainability and health in mind, not as an afterthought, but as an integral part of everything they undertake,” said  Andrea Suarez Falken, Director of U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools.

Discover how PLT’s GreenSchools Investigations connect with ED-GRS’s three Pillars that the U.S. Department of Education uses to define a green school.

James McGirt

James McGirt

James McGirt is Manager of Project Learning Tree’s GreenSchools program. James started his career as an education specialist for the District of Columbia’s Board of Education, then went into the classroom to teach 3rd-12th grades. Later he was Director of After School programs and Principal for both the middle school and the adult education program at the Friendship Edison Junior Academy in Washington, D.C.