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Natural Awakenings Boston

Greening Massachusetts Schools

Aug 27, 2013 11:25PM ● By Nancy Somera

To date, 136 schools across the Commonwealth are members of Green Schools, an award-winning nonprofit organization that partners with schools to develop a clear framework, as well as strategies and environmental education programming, to create greener and healthier schools. They provide a number of hands-on, environmental education and STEM-based (science/technology/engineering/ mathematics) programs and resources to help students, teachers, schools and communities make a green difference.

On average, green schools save $100,000 per year on operating expenses, use less energy and emit less CO2 than conventionally designed schools.
 

Founder, Executive Director and Program Director Robin Organ has been responsible for extending Green Schools’ reach beyond Massachusetts to develop strategic partnerships in more than 20 states and 22 countries. U.S. Senator John Kerry says, “Project Green Schools’ innovative programming will help our kids become the next generation of environmental leaders.”

Green Schools is planning its first annual golf tournament and luncheon on September 19, at the Norton Country Club. A shotgun start begins at 9 a.m., and proceeds from the tournament will help them continue to develop and provide environmental education programs and resources to K-12 schools and communities in areas such as conservation, health and wellness, renewable energy, sustainable schools and a host of other programs.

The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) is also a leader in promoting greener, healthier schools across the nation. Each September, the Center for Green Schools at USGBC coordinates the Green Apple initiative, giving individuals, companies and organizations the opportunity to transform all schools into healthy, safe, cost-efficient and productive learning places, free from toxins, molds and poorly lit, overcrowded classrooms and buildings.

The Green Schools at USGBC Committee Massachusetts Chapter is once again promoting the Green Apple Day of Service, aiming to have more than 50 projects registered across the state this year on or around September 28 to advance healthy, sustainable schools. Examples of projects include indoor or outdoor cleanups, preparing a garden, creating signage that communicates reducing waste, and any other project that promotes healthy schools and community service. A step-bystep toolkit is available at MyGreenApple. com to help organize service day projects, and a 20-minute webcast introduces those interested to project ideas, volunteer recruitment tips, fundraising ideas and more.

For more information on Green Schools or to register for the golf tournament, visit ProjectGreenSchools.org. Contact Steve Muzzy, USGBC MA Green Schools program manager, at [email protected] org for help in organizing a Green Apple Day event at your school.