|Illinois Green Ribbon Schools Nominees Announced
One elementary school, one Pre-K-12 district, and one university receive state recognition for their conservation efforts
CHICAGO – March 4, 2019 – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), and the Illinois Green Alliance announced on March 4, the three nominees from the 2019 Illinois Green Ribbon School program. The program recognizes schools that save energy, reduce costs, protect student and staff health and wellness, and offer environmental education.
“The Illinois Green Alliance is thrilled to continue our partnership with ISBE and IBHE to recognize these three nominees for their outstanding efforts to create sustainable and healthy learning spaces for students. It is inspiring to see the unique efforts these schools are taking to reduce their environmental impact and empower the next generation of sustainable leaders,” said Liz Wimmer, Program Manager of the Illinois Green Alliance.
The three recipients include:
Meadowview Elementary School, part of Community Consolidated School District 46 in Grayslake, takes pride in their efforts to protect the Earth through environmental education and sustainability programs. Over the past 15 years, Meadowview School has developed an outdoor classroom, which serves as the center for outdoor learning and inspiration for environmental education. The most recent initiative, a school-wide woodland project, provides students with hands-on understanding of the impact individuals can have on an ecosystem. The project builds from year to year and immerses students in learning that allows them to not only improve their knowledge, but also have a positive impact on the world right outside their own doors.
Bloomington Public Schools District 87, located in central Illinois, has made numerous impactful changes within its nine schools to improve energy efficiency, reduce waste, and increase the health and fitness of students and staff over the last decade. The most innovative project implemented has been a district-wide cafeteria composting and recycling initiative. Since the start of the program in 2014, the district has reduced dumpster sizes by half, preventing over 50 tons of waste from entering area landfills. By reducing its carbon footprint, District 87 hopes to set an example for neighboring districts, organizations, and families.
Loyola University Chicago is committed to addressing climate change and sustainability as key aspects of their mission of social justice. Announced around the release of Laudato si’, Pope Francis’ Encyclical on Ecology, Loyola released ‘A Just Future’, a climate action plan with a carbon neutrality goal of 2025. The University addresses climate through three main strategies; campus, curriculum, and community engagement. Loyola’s commitment to sustainability has led to ambitious accomplishments over the last decade, including, 11 high-performing, LEED-certified buildings, an exemplary sustainable landscape at the Lake Shore Campus, and more green roofs than any university in the Midwest.
IBHE Interim Executive Director Nyle Robinson said, “IBHE is proud to be a participant in this competitive program. Encouraging schools across the state to not only move toward environmental sustainability, but to be teaching that philosophy to the next generation as well, is a benefit to all of us in Illinois. Congratulations to this year’s nominees.”
The applications for these three nominees have been submitted to the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon School program for a chance to be nationally recognized.
Illinois is among 28 states participating in this year’s program. Applications for the program, now in its eighth year, were submitted to ISBE, IBHE, and Illinois Green Alliance in mid-January.
Each state may submit up to five nominees from public or private Pre-K-12 schools or districts, and one college or university to the U.S. Department of Education. If a state nominates more than one public school, at least one must be a school with at least 40 percent of students eligible for free and reduced-priced school meals.
Following the U.S. Department of Education’s announcement of winners in May, there will be an award ceremony in Washington, D.C., in September.
For more information about the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools program, including a list of previous and current state winners, visit https://www2.ed.gov/programs/green-ribbon-schools/index.html.
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About Illinois Green Alliance
The Illinois Green Alliance is a membership directed non-profit organization working to transform the region’s built environment to become ecologically sustainable, profitable, and healthy. To do so, we engage community leaders and utilize member expertise in education and community outreach through targeted programs and initiatives focused around green homes, communities, schools and existing buildings. With hundreds of passionate members and volunteers who lend their time and expertise, Illinois Green provides nearly 75 educational programs, community engagement events, tours, and advocacy initiatives each year. For more information about the Illinois Green Alliance, visit www.illinoisgreenalliance.org.