It was definitely an Earth Day to celebrate at Greenwich Academy that has been named a Green Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.
The designation recognizes schools that are exemplary in reducing environmental impact and costs; improving the health and wellness of students and staff; and providing effective environmental and sustainability education.
“We are honored to be the only independent school in the State of Connecticut to be recognized as a Green Ribbon School,” Head of School Molly King said in a statement. “As a community we are committed to practicing responsible environmental stewardship, and as educators we believe it is our duty to help our students understand their relationship with the environment and prepare them to be informed stewards of sustainability.”
GA’s green initiatives impact all areas of the school’s environmental practices. They include:
- LEED Silver Certification of the Middle School; the building, renovated in 2009 includes solar panels that have generated 28,439 kilowatts of energy in the last 12 months.
- A 25-member Green Team led by the school’s facilities director and comprised of faculty and staff members from all areas of the school. The lower, middle, upper schools also have student-led green teams.
- Student-led efforts to increase awareness of, and participation in, recycling efforts. Multiple on-campus conservation areas used as teaching tools—classes use natural areas on the grounds in science and physical education classes.
- A hands-on organic gardening program integrated in the curriculum of all three divisions as part of GA’s robust health and wellness initiatives.
GA Facilities Director Scott Thacker said, “Through our many green initiatives, we’ve shown that these practices can reduce costs while also improve the well-being of our community and our environment.”
GA strives for continuous improvement; the school is in the process of implementing a waste stream tracking system to further reduce overall waste and increase recycling, and has plans to evaluate and install new and more efficient lighting technology over the summer.