Department of Education announces Green Ribbon Schools award

energy conservation colleges

The U.S. Department of Education recently launched the Green Ribbon Schools program, which will recognize schools for energy conservation, creating healthy learning spaces, and teaching environmental literacy. The program will be run by the Department of Education with help from the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Green Ribbon Schools program will be modeled after the Department of Education's Blue Ribbon Schools Program, which honors schools that are either high-performing or have significantly improved student achievement. Applications for the program will be accepted later this year, and the first group of Green Ribbon Schools will be announced in 2012.

"The schools taking part in this initiative will help kids connect what they're learning in science class with the world around them, allowing them to envision solutions to tomorrow's challenges while living healthier lives today," EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said in a statement. "By making green living a part of everyday learning, Green Ribbon Schools will prepare our children to win the future by leading our global green energy economy."

At an event announcing the new program, EPA Administrator Jackson and Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, planted a Texas live oak at the headquarters of the Department of Education--the Texas live oak is the tree depicted in the Education Department's seal.

"Preparing our children to be good environmental citizens is some of the most important work any of us can do," U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said at the event. "It's work that will serve future generations and quite literally sustain our world."

"Environmental literacy is an important part of a well-rounded, world-class education," Secretary Duncan added. "Through the Green Ribbon Schools program, we'll be holding up schools that are leading the way in teaching science and in ways that show students the importance of developing clean energy sources and sustainable solutions for the environment."