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First Federal Movement to Support Green Schools

Department of Education launches Green Ribbon Schools program.
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced the Green Ribbon Schools program with the Council on Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency. Photo credit: Maggie Ollove, Earth Day Network

The first crop of Green Ribbon Schools, recognized for energy conservation, creating healthy learning spaces, school grounds, building operations and teaching environmental literacy, will be announced next year by the U.S. Department of Education.

The new initiative, launched April 26 on the heels of Earth Day, will be modeled after the department's Blue Ribbon Schools program, which recognizes academic performance. This is the first time the federal government has launched a comprehensive green schools movement, and it will tie in with President Obama's pledge to increase energy efficiency and make the United States a greener place.

"Preparing our children to be good environmental citizens is some of the most important work any of us can do," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "It's work that will serve future generations and quite literally sustain our world."

According to Duncan, environmental literacy, which teaches students the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing energy efficiency, should be incorporated into curricula nationwide. The DOE will be working alongside the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the White House Council on Environmental Quality to evaluate the nominated schools. Applications for the program will be released later this year.