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CONTACT: DEP Press Office: (850) 245-2112

DEP Announces Five Winners for Governor's Serve to Preserve: Green Schools Awards

- Winners recognized for environmental excellence in education – 

PALM BEACH GARDENS – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), in conjunction with the Florida Department of Education (DOE), Florida’s Foundation, and the Collins Center for Public Policy’s Sustainable Florida Program tonight announced the five 2010 winners for the Governor’s Serve to Preserve: Green Schools Awards program in Palm Beach Gardens. The winners represented schools from throughout Florida, including Alachua, Escambia, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

“The turnout and impact of the second annual Governor’s Serve to Preserve: Green Schools Awards was tremendous this year,” said DEP Office of Environmental Education (OEE) Director Greg Ira. “The collective efforts of all those involved this year resulted in a savings of an estimated $5.2 million, 34,000 gallons of water and nearly 56 million kilowatt-hours of energy, which is enough to fill 680 bathtubs with water and power more than 5,000 homes for an entire year.”

The awards program, which was announced by Governor Charlie Crist on Earth Day in 2009, recognizes the efforts of creating healthy, efficient and productive places for learning. Three finalists were selected in each of the five categories: student, classroom, teacher, school and school district. Eligible projects were categorized in four themes: green learning environments including indoor and outdoor facilities, exemplary green curriculum or teacher professional development programs, green service learning projects and green policies or partnerships.

“The leadership, creativity and unwavering commitment displayed by the winners this year is what brought the event such demonstrated success,” said Department of Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith. “This event will continue to join education and the environment in a positive and proactive partnership to better our schools and earth for future generations to come.”

The awards ceremony recognized all of the 15 finalists recently announced, including the winners. Each of the five winners received a $1,500 cash award and finalists each received $250. The awards are made possible through the generous support of sponsors Florida Lottery, Publix Super Markets and Comcast, and Florida Agriculture in the Classroom Inc.

The five award winners are:

Student Award: Erich Christian initiated a biodiesel project at the Oak Hall School in Gainesville. Students collected and recycled 600 gallons of used vegetable oil from the community and established a free standing biodiesel facility on campus. He also worked to amend Florida statute 206 as a member of the Alachua County Energy Conservation Strategies Committee, and subsequently lobbied for Senate Bill 1730 and House Bill 1065, which allowed the project to be duplicated at other Florida schools by exempting schools that produce up to 1,000 gallons of biodiesel from reporting and tax burdens.

Class Award: Deborah Pate, a returning finalist, is a teacher at A.K. Suter Elementary in Pensacola. Ms. Pate began the ‘Spread the Word’ energy conservation program and incorporates National Energy Education Development curriculum into her energy and conservation lessons. Ms. Pate’s class initiated a sustainable recycling effort within the school, and solicited donations from businesses within the community. To create awareness about National Recycling Day, Ms. Pate’s class hosted a recycling contest and collected 13,000 plastic bags and 700 phone books. Ms. Pate’s class also sponsored Turn off Half the Lights Day.

Teacher Award: Pamela Krauss is a high school teacher at South Plantation High School in Broward County. Ms. Krauss’s Green Waterwise project involves water conservation initiatives through harvesting and distribution of rainwater from rain barrels. Multidisciplinary curriculum was incorporated into lessons – the art class painted the barrels, physics was used in the pump design/operation, and math was used to calculate water savings. Rain water collected in barrels saves up to 52 gallons per day and helps irrigate the two gardens on campus.

School Award: Pine Jog Elementary, a returning finalist, in West Palm Beach has continued to implement multiple green initiatives. The school uses technology to monitor energy and water usage, while incorporating these concepts into the curriculum. All students participate in gardening, planting and restoration activities to increase their awareness and dedication for a greener school. Pine Jog participated in the International Green Cup Challenge, and won first place in the Florida Atlantic University Green Schools Recognition Program. The school also hosted the first green schools conference that drew 300 participants from Palm Beach and surrounding counties.

District Award: The Broward County School District’s ‘Live Green Learn Green’ has a plan to create sustainable policies within the district. Retrofitting schools with water saving and energy efficient products has resulted in more than 42 million kilowatt hours of energy saved in just one year, a seven percent reduction. New recycling policies resulted in 1,848 tons of goods that were recycled and diverted from the waste stream. The plan also includes the use of green cleaning products and anti-idling bus policies to improve air quality.

Judging for the awards was coordinated by the Collins Center for Public Policy’s Sustainable Florida Program, with headquarters in Tallahassee and Miami.

View detailed information on all 15 finalists’ entries. For more information on the Governor’s Serve to Preserve: Green Schools Awards, visit www.MyFloridaClimate.com

Green Schools Award Logo

"The collective efforts of all those involved this year resulted in a savings of an estimated $5.2 million, 34,000 gallons of water and nearly 56 million kilowatt-hours of energy, which is enough to fill 680 bathtubs with water and power more than 5,000 homes for an entire year."

Greg Ira
DEP Office of Environmental Education (OEE) Director



Last updated: October 21, 2010

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