Harrisburg, PA - Several members of the Wolf Administration joined environmental and educational advocates at the state Capitol today to honor Mt. Lebanon High School and Wexford Elementary School for being selected by the U.S. Department of Education as 2018 Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS).
“Pennsylvania’s Green Ribbon Schools serve as a model for teaching the value of environmental stewardship through the infusion of real-world experiences into the classroom,” said Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera. “I applaud Mt. Lebanon High School and Wexford Elementary School for their innovative efforts to promote conservation and environmental awareness, and thank them for their contributions to their communities.”
Rivera was joined by Secretary Patrick McDonnell from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP); Deputy Secretary John W. Norbeck from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR); Nick Semon, President of PA Green & Healthy Schools Partnership (PAGHSP); John Armstead, EPA Region 3 Deputy Regional Administrator; and lawmakers and advocates at the event to offer their congratulations to the schools.
“The teachers, students, administrators, and staff of Mt. Lebanon High School and Wexford Elementary School demonstrate the highest levels of excellence in K-12 environmental education and sustainability,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Everyone can learn from their comprehensive programs, incorporating green practices into all aspects of daily life. More important, from these model programs may come sustainability innovators of the future, fueled by knowledge of how environmental protection, economic benefits, and quality of life are intertwined.”
At Mt. Lebanon High School, a variety of green initiatives have enabled the campus to reduce energy consumption and conserve resources. The cafeteria uses biodegradable plates, bowls and cups to enable composting through Pittsburgh Garden Company. The science department runs a student-led energy saving campaign and has dramatically reduced the amount of hazardous waste generated each year. A perennial garden was developed with an emphasis on plants that will best help to sustain pollinators, and a seating area in the garden is used as an outdoor learning space for students. All students also take a full year of environmental geoscience.
Wexford Elementary School, in the Pine-Richland School District, was recognized for several interconnected programs which provide students with the knowledge and opportunities to have a healthy body, mind and environment. The school has a half-mile nature trail and outside classrooms for students to learn within the environment, and its cafeteria recycling program has recycled over 100,000 milk and water containers. In conjunction with a vegetable garden, the school this year initiated a composting program to collect leftover waste food and educate students on returning nutrients to the soil sustainably.
“DCNR salutes both these schools for demonstrating a strong commitment to promoting conservation, and to improving the health and wellness of their students and staff through outdoor activities,” Norbeck said. “Their goals and accomplishments are models for other schools to follow across Pennsylvania.”
Since 2011, the ED-GRS program has nominated schools, districts, and institutions of higher education across the country for their dedication to reducing environmental impact and cost, improving health and wellness of schools, and providing environmental education to students. Nationally, 46 schools, six districts, and six postsecondary institutions were named 2018 Green Ribbon Schools.
For more information on U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, visit the U.S. Dept. of Education’s website; and for more information about Pennsylvania’s education policies and programs please visit the Department of Education’s website at www.education.pa.gov or follow PDE on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.
MEDIA CONTACT: Rick Levis, PDE, 717-783-9802
Terry Brady, DCNR, 717-705-2225
Deborah Klenotic, DEP, 717-783-9954
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