Park Avenue Elementary School and the Warwick Valley High School have received New York State nominations to the 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, which recognizes school districts and post-secondary institutions for their sustainable facilities, health practices and exemplary environmental education. NYS Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia made the announcement this week, sharing that Warwick’s two schools would be the states nominees for 2018.
In 2015, Warwick became one of the very few school districts to adopt a policy to promote sustainability. Lynn Lillian, the Board of Education President, explains, “This charges us to maintain an aggressive program to reduce energy consumption, develop students to be environmental stewards, and to embrace recycling. I believe that this designation is proof that we are indeed making significant progress toward this end.”
Park Avenue Elementary is the first school in New York to receive both the National Blue Ribbon (academic excellence) and NYS Green Ribbon designations.
“From composting efforts to recycling throughout the school, it is so exciting to see children receive effective environmental and sustainability education, including important civic learning,” said Sharon Davis, vice president of the Board of Education
Warwick Valley High School (WVHS) is the first high school in New York to receive a NYS Green Ribbon School designation. The WVHS Green Team raises awareness about recycling, and the students participate in the Hudson Valley Envirothon. Throughout this competition, high school students demonstrate knowledge of soils, aquatics, forestry, wildlife, and current issues.
“It is important that our district is leading by example for our community, students and other schools and I am proud to be a part of a school district that is placing sustainability near the forefront of our mission,” said Jason Touw, the Green Team advisor at WVHS.
The District focus on reducing costs and its environmental impact strengthens each schools application. David Eaton, Board of Education Member, explained, “We continue to reduce waste, water consumption, energy, and greenhouse gases. Our 10-acre solar field is a fine example. We eliminate an electric bill while becoming a greener community.”
National Green Ribbon honorees will be announced by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Mon., Apr. 23, the day after Earth Day, followed by a national award ceremony this fall in Washington, DC.