- The Students of the BCE Green Club at Bessey Creek
Elementary School in Jensen Beach, under their teacher Celeste Norup,
have reduced trash production at the school by one-third and motivated
the families of students and staff to recycle at home. The club also
participated in Terracycle which earned the school $400 in recycling
rebates and raised $1,200 for a non-profit organization that provides
clean drinking water to people in need in developing countries. They
have successfully promoted themselves through volunteerism, fundraising
and education on environmental issues, and they have become a model in
their district for other green service initiatives.
- Madeline Cowen and Larissa Weinstein made an impact as
co-presidents in Gables Earth Environmental Club under the guidance of
their teacher, Jenny Lopez-Ponce of Coral Gables Senior High School.
They helped create a mural behind the school’s new butterfly garden,
were involved in the expansion of the school’s recycling program, and
have both been featured in a film titled “Young Voices on Climate
Change.” Madeline and Larissa encouraged students and faculty at the
school to participate in “recycling wars” between grade levels and also
planted trees during the week of Earth Day. They have facilitated
in-class discussions and school-wide projects to promote environmental
- Monica Dyches is a student leader in reducing the carbon
footprint at Miami Palmetto Senior High School. She participated in the
planting of native trees and the removal of non-native species in the
school’s half-acre area of pine flat woods and assisted in raising money
to help Haiti plant trees to lower their own carbon footprint. Monica
helped start “Trayless Tuesdays” where school lunches are served on wax
paper or in a paper bag instead of Styrofoam, resulting to a 20 percent
decrease in the school’s Styrofoam usage. Palmetto Senior High School
has created an action plan to get surrounding schools involved in these
initiatives as well. Their plan includes flyers, commercials and
speeches on the importance of recycling and lowering carbon emissions.
- Deb Wagner is a 4th grade teacher at St. Paul
Lutheran School who, along with her students, has been working to lessen
the school’s environmental footprint. The students planted 80 trees to
help prevent soil erosion and restore habitat that was destroyed by a
road project. They also designed a one-acre restoration area to meet the
habitat needs of the endangered gopher tortoise and other animals. The
students developed this habitat restoration plan by meeting with the
County Commissioner, water district personnel and by visiting a Mosaic
Phosphate reclaimed site. They also recycled newspapers and old homework
to further minimize their school’s environmental footprint.
- Peter Jordan is a returning finalist and teacher at Ocoee High
School who guided the student-led project, Ocoee Green, which encourages
student leadership and environmental stewardship in the community. Their
project focused on composting, organic vegetable farming, recycling,
water catchment, hydroponics and vermiculture. Students act as
coordinators in stewardship activities and in promoting environmental
awareness among others at the school.
- Ray Cruze is an agriculture teacher at Roosevelt Academy who
implemented the program, Roosevelt Farms. This program teaches children
with learning disabilities how to grow and maintain crops without using
harmful chemicals, while also conserving water. Students distribute the
produce locally and the profits from the crop sales are used to support
a housing program for women and children. The students participate in
all aspects of the farming process.
- Josh Clearman led his class in creating a green
learning environment at Key West High School. With his guidance, his
class produced power via a wind turbine, reduced carbon emissions,
planted trees, saved more than 1,000 gallons of water, produced 100
gallons of biodiesel and recycled 1,000 gallons of oil. The class also
used aquarium water to grow tomato plants and installed a solar panel on
a golf cart. They incorporated design, environmental stewardship,
physics concepts and problem solving to green their school projects.
- Deborah Pate is in charge of the Suter Energy Savers of A.K. Suter
Elementary School. She incorporated green learning activities into her
daily lessons including alternative energy awareness, constructing a
solar house, using a solar oven and creating a wind turbine. She also
had her class write a letter to President Obama expressing their
feelings about the oil spill on Florida’s beaches and their knowledge
obtained by teaching others about energy, recycling and gardening, and
through an energy booth at the school carnival.
- Wendy Doromal of Timber Creek High School implemented a service
learning theme at her school. She raised awareness of environmental
issues by leading a school-wide recycling program, preserving habitats,
protecting endangered species, and conserving energy and water. Her
students researched environmental issues, created 25 bulletin boards, to
promote awareness and preservation throughout the school, and hosted a
“Green Holiday” to promote recycling and energy saving tips. The
students also partnered with Global Peace Film Festival to bring a
filmmaker to their school. More than 800 students watched “End of the
Line” and learned about overfishing in our oceans.
- Learning Gate Community School lives by the motto “Nature Is Our Best Teacher” and uses their achieved LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design) Platinum certified building as a teaching tool. The administration demonstrates the benefits of sustainable living by pairing classroom lessons with hands-on environmental learning. The recycled content of the buildings teaches students to reduce, reuse and recycle. Rainwater collected in cisterns is filtered to flush toilets and irrigate native plants. They also enacted a zero waste lunch program and have a student-run garden on campus, the products of which are picked and donated to a homeless shelter. The school held an eco-fest, hosting more than 100 green vendors to help positively impact their community.
- Lawton Chiles Elementary School has brought out the environmental stewardship in their students and staff members. This school’s recycling efforts have diverted 2,500 pounds of material from entering the landfill each week. Students learned how to respect the earth by conserving, recycling and educating others in the community through research and current events projects. The information they learned was shared through student created videos and posters displayed throughout the school. Lawton Chiles Elementary School is also credited with recycling 343,000 plastic bags totaling 4,900 pounds.
- David Lawrence Jr. K-8 Center saved $76,000 by reducing their energy waste. Students led projects supporting sustainable technology including a solar powered waterfall and a noise detection device with LED bulbs. Staff educated students by emphasizing the impacts of consumerism, population growth and natural resources. Students also partnered with Energy Alliance and a Ukrainian school to develop a Public Service Announcement on sustainable energy. Film presentations that were relevant to green initiative topics, including “Climate Refugees, Food Inc.,” “Kilowatt Ours,” “Affluenza” and “The Cost of Cool,” were presented to students to enrich their learning.
- Pine Jog Elementary, a previous Green School Award-winning finalist, created a school recycling program titled Growing Up Green. The program was also involved with Terracycle and earned the school a $450 rebate for turning in juice pouches, candy wrappers and zip lock bags.
- Pinellas County used a district energy management plan to define a set of standards for school waste reduction. The plan emphasized practical training, reducing energy usage and enlarging recycling programs. Each school had green teams and campus litter patrols to implement the recycling programs. The district also had four schools with gardens and its Earth Day events were open to the public. The district’s projects were highly student driven. Energy cost savings were $675,000 with a kWh savings of 6,140,341. The district received $32,000 in rebates from recycling and saved 13,440 cubic yards of waste from going to the landfill.
- Duval County started the Green Champions program, which consisted of reducing operating costs, eliminating waste, conserving natural resources, and incorporating sustainability into the curriculum. Activities of the Green Champions included the “green police” who conducted energy/water surveys and wrote citations, home surveys, campus and park cleanups, Black Out Day (turn off all electronics), weekly green tips, availability of recycling bins and green start-up kits for each school. Staff also conducted green-themed science experiments. Measureable energy savings were 9,700,000 kWh.
- Charlotte County’s approach to energy conservation management used a simple program called “As Easy as One, Two, Three.” Its objectives were to save cost, keep buildings safe from environmental harm and maintain an optimal education environment. Each school and department developed and supported a paper recycling effort. Energy savings occurred through educational efforts emphasizing reduction of air conditioning and lighting consumption. Through the joint effort of the school board, teachers, students and other faculty, the district saved $1.5 million in utility costs and cut its kilowatt hours in half.
Florida Green School Awards