Recognized NC Green Schools
View the list of recognized green schools in North Carolina below:
NCGS Schools of Excellence
NC Green School of Excellence, 2016- present.
Barnardsville Elementary School a small, low income school consisting of 150 students. Although the resources are limited and the size is small the school strives to make a big difference in everything it does. Barnardsville Elementary is committed to creating a culture of environmentally conscious students and adults through incorporating sustainable practices and green curriculum into everyday education, play and school wide practices.
BES partners with community members to support green initiatives such as the Storm Water Project, a new sustainable playground, the school garden, honey bee attractive plants and a school wide clean air program. The school annually hosts a spring cleanup where students, staff and community members come together to garden, mulch, pick up trash and spruce up the campus. The teachers at BES devote planning periods to collaborate with Buncombe County science specialist to create a STEM program. This STEM program encourages students to think about the earth, their environmental impact and the environmental impact of humans.
The school is dedicated to creating a school that is sustainable and green. Barnardsville has energy and water saving reminders in every room and bathroom. Student bathrooms have automatic faucets to save water and the newer staff bathrooms have water saving toilets. There are automatic lights in common areas, recycling bins in every room, and the campus utilizes water saving techniques such as mulching, abstaining from sprinklers, and recycling storm water for the garden.
Currently, BES has grant funded picnic tables that are utilized by teachers for outdoor learning. The new playground includes an outdoor classroom to encourage teachers to get outside. The Storm Water Project will conserve water and create a wetland habitat that emphasizes conservation, decreases erosion, increases the population of native plants and species, and helps manage water quality for the community. Barnardsville has numerous partnerships with local farms and gardens including Rayburn Farms, Lazy K Ranch and Ivy Creek Family Farm. The wellness team along with the cafeteria staff have created a plethora of activities for both the staff and students to encourage movement and healthy eating.
The teachers at Barnardsville Elementary are passionate about integrating an environmentally conscious curriculum through outdoor activities, environment education, and classroom practices that encourage to be cognizant and responsible of the impact of their actions. Barnardsville supports local non-profits, such as Eblen Charities, through fundraising and food drives. Participation in these support efforts, along with involvement with Jump Rope for Heart, encourages awareness of the student’s relationship with the world around them.
NC Green School of Excellence 2014-present
Carolina Day School (CDS) has been committed to working together to try to implement sustainable practices. Seven years ago they created a “Sustainability Committee” with representatives from all four divisions, parents and administration. This committee meets each trimester (sometimes more), and works on green goals for the whole school.
In 2009, CDS made it a priority in the last School Improvement plan to focus on “Environment and Sustainability”. They have made tremendous progress in this area, as is shown by the existence of the Sustainability Committee, providing professional development for faculty, the community service the entire school does in support of local environmental groups, and the daily commitment to recycling and composting.
They have had an informal energy audit, implemented a composting program that will involve the entire school, and worked to create a carpool option for families.
CDS shows its commitment to making their school a healthier place by building and utilizing outdoor classrooms. Each division has created gardens and a natural area with river stone was built for the Lower School children to play. Each division has nutrition and health in their curriculum and encourages students and faculty to join the “100 mile club” by tracking their mileage in the winter to try to reach 100 miles of walking or hiking by spring.
Environmental issues are discussed in many venues, not just the science classes, though students can go more deeply in the sciences. Students work on solar and hydroponic gardens.
They’ve made solar ovens and helped sea turtles in Costa Rica make it back to the ocean. They plant vegetables from seed and nurture the plants until they bear fruit. Students created a phenology lab and a salamander study area on campus. Pre-K students watch monarchs grow from caterpillar to butterfly, and recreate their migration to Mexico by “flying” around campus collecting nectar.
Lastly, CDS innovatively changed plans. Instead of building a new Lower School, they decided to “up-cycle” the original building built in 1956 with features designed to save energy and improve air quality.
NC Green School of Excellence, 2016-present.
Cove Creek School’s guiding principles emphasize “helping each child be a responsible citizen of the world and a role model in environmental stewardship”. The Green Team has grown to twenty one members, including parents, staff and members of the community who have been brainstorming and supporting environmental initiatives at Cove Creek. Most members of the Green Team are also active leaders in the Cove Creek Community Group (the school’s non-traditional answer to a PTO) and environmental goals are fully integrated into the mission of this broader group. From small steps like converting school events to zero waste, to more involved collaborative efforts such as writing proposals for local and national sustainability education grants, both groups work as one to help inspire environmental stewardship not just in the students at the school, but also among the wider Cove Creek community.
The Vilas community has been a key part of the success of the school’s environmental movement, and getting family members involved in projects has really helped spread the excitement about becoming a Green School. There have been smaller community events like creek cleanups and collaborative planting as well as the much larger, all day “Blooms and Buzz Day”. The school communicates news about green efforts to the community via the school’s website, Facebook, Twitter and several blogs, as well as via the local newspaper. Partnerships with local businesses and non-profit organizations have also helped with funding and spreading the word about the school’s environmental mission.
The formation of the afterschool program “EcoRaiders”, a student club with an environmental science focus, has been the other big driving force behind the school’s conservation movement. The club, with 42 members meets weekly for an hour and a half and has been critical in securing the grants for the expanded school garden, the beehive, Blooms and Buzz Day and things like new recycling centers for the school.
Sustainability efforts at the school include a paper recycling program which is ran by middle school students, as well as recycling of bottles, cans and batteries (in collaboration with a local boyscout troop). The school also has a worm bin and a three stage compost station and recovers foodwaste from kitchen prep to make compost for the garden. Other sustainability initiatives the school has undertaken are light audits, installing a water bottle filling station, buying new sinks to ensure water conservation and making school events zero waste.
NC Green School of Excellence 2015-2016. NC Green School of Quality, 2013-2015.
The Charles T. Koontz Intermediate School Environmental Literacy Team (ELT) consists of staff, parents, students and business partners and has diligently collaborated to ensure our school sustains recognition as a 2013-2014 Green School. The staff committee began meeting in 2011 to create our Shared Purpose, “Growing environmental stewards for a sustainable future.” The group also established our vision for the Koontz ELT which is “To serve as environmental leaders by forging community partnerships and inspiring life-long dedication to sustainability.”
hroughout our initial meetings we decided upon some core fundamental beliefs that would guide our endeavors:
- We respect ecological awareness by treading lightly, being a good steward of the environment, and respecting all environments and living things.
- We believe in the total community working together, encouraging parents, students, teachers, and the public to become involved.
- We model honesty and compassion by “doing the right things even when no one is watching,” helping each other, and creating and fostering a culture of compassion.
NC Green School of Excellence, 2016-present
Evergreen Community Charter School is a leader in the Green Schools Movement. As a founding member of the Green Schools National Network, Evergreen has been involved for years in national efforts to establish networks and share best green practices. We were involved in the creation of the GSNN GreenPrint, a set of guidelines for becoming a green school. And, in 2012 we were honored as a US DOE Green Ribbon School of Excellence.
Evergreen’s school design uniquely brings together the Expeditionary Learning model with a mission focused on environmental literacy and social justice. This union encourages a curriculum that is holistic by design, academically rigorous and grounded in a strong connection with the natural world and local community. Our model is sustainable because, by design, our students and staff form deep, and meaningful relationships with one another, our community partners and friends throughout the learning cycle, which gives our curriculum a life of its own. Students, teachers, parents and school partners become invested and care deeply for the role Evergreen’s education plays in nurturing the lives of our students and our environment. This is a positive feedback cycle that sustains itself because it nurtures itself with service, care and compassion.
Evergreen is accomplished in each of the Green Schools Rubric components, which isn’t to say we don’t have work to do. In each component, we find we excel in many of activities listed and have work to do still in others. Overall, our strengths are in Community & Culture, Curriculum Integration and the Healthy Schools components, with more work to be done in the areas of School Sustainability. Evergreen students are at the heart of our Green School practices. We put them in the forefront, ask them to help guide us, learn alongside them, and find our inspiration from them. As a Green School, there is alignment with our educational philosophy and our environmental ethics. What is good for the earth is, most often, also good for our students and community. And, when we are faced with budget shortfalls, environmental problems, or social injustices, we find a source of brilliance and intelligence in the open hearts and minds of our students. They are the beacons of light that help us find our way towards a greener, more sustainable future.
NC Green School of Excellence, 2019- present
Lincoln Heights Environmental Connections Magnet Elementary, a PreK – 5th grade school located in Fuquay Varina, reached the highest designation as an NC Green School of Excellence, adding a second accolade to its recognition as a US Green Ribbon School in the same year.
The Lincoln Heights’ vision is for students to build relationships and engage with their environment to become empowered citizens. Especially impressive are the school’s engagement with local partners, the school’s commitment to having three full-time teachers dedicated to environmental connections, the upgraded and efficient school facilities, the school showing leadership in interdisciplinary studies, environmental education professional development for all teachers, and the wonderful example of environmentally themed learning expeditions.
Lincoln Heights was motivated to become a NC Green School to showcase its efforts “to fully embody our magnet theme,” says Laura Wood, environmental connections integration specialist. “We have worked very hard to create a culture of environmentally minded staff and students, and we want to continue to cultivate that, both in our school, as well as our local community. This designation is one more way for us to show how committed we are to creating positive environmental changes, locally and, in turn, globally.”
NC Green School of Excellence, 2014-present.
NC Green School of Quality, 2013-2014.
Queens Creek Elementary School is designated as an International Green School under the Onslow County School System’s themed elementary school initiative. Since its Green School theme was established in 2012, Queens Creek has worked hard to develop a learning environment which integrates sustainable practices and outlaid learning spaces, standards based lessons that are integrated environmental themes, and a culture of environmentally responsible global citizenship and stewardship.
The first NC Green School of Excellence, 2013-present
“Rainbow Community School has, as part of its mission, an academic program that revolves around integration of nature, science, and the environment. From outdoor physical education classes and recycling, to water conservation and consciously cultivating a wildlife habitat, Rainbow Community School actively strives to build a compassionate and environmentally sustainable school.”
- Butterfly Row building constructed using passive solar design with energy efficient lighting; no electricity using air conditioner
- The school utilizes the trees to aid in its passive solar design: the trees provide lots of shade in the summer and reduce heat to campus buildings and let plenty of line through in the winter to help heat buildings
- Rain barrels on campus irrigate campus gardens and reduce water consumption
- 5th graders bring compostable materials (i.e. food) to round composting bin, the worm composting bins or to the regular composting bins
- Rainbow has received the “Treasure Tree Award” from the City of Asheville
- The school uses “dead” trees to grow edible mushrooms
- Built with mostly recycled materials, the “Gnome Village” provides a magical playspace for children
- The playground design encourages students to play outdoors, even in cold weather
- The school has dedicated outdoor space for physical education classes (making a conscious decision not to build a gym) that are held outdoors except in the most extreme weather
- Rainbow’s 4th grade class does a botany unit and when the food is grown, makes a meal using the food from the garden
- Rainbow Community School is a certified wildlife habitat
- Every day is earth day: 5th grade students pick up trash along State Street in Asheville in October
NC Green School of Excellence, 2016-present, NC Green School of Promise, 2015-2016
Salisbury Academy (SA) continues to purposefully plan and seek out new green initiatives in order to expand and promote environmental literacy for students, staff, parents, and the local community. Our school community has benefited from the addition of new partnerships and an increase of outdoor learning, critical thinking and problem solving, and integration of environmental concepts across multiple grades. It is our desire to continually increase, evaluate, and expand green opportunities.
New partnerships with the LandTrust for Central NC, NCSU Department of Parks and Recreation, and NC Department of Environmental Education have provided a new perspective on the importance of conservation and student involvement in resource protection, and have produced a measurable, evaluated growth in environmental literacy for the 2016-2017 school year across all middle school students.
Last summer, new environmental literacy standards were developed for kindergarten through eighth grade to increase environmental literacy during the 2016-2017 year and beyond using the North American Association of Environmental Education standards, the new NC Environmental Literacy Plan, and the Next Generation Science Standards. The founding of a K-5 “Science Explorers” class provided students with opportunities to develop observation skills and increase understanding of energy and interrelationships in the environment.
Outdoor time for field experiences and classroom lessons saw significant increase at SA. Lower school students benefited from connections with upper school students as environmental concepts and energy were explored and shared together.
Student-led environmental initiatives that grew from classroom discussions were implemented, including a battery disposal collection program, a bluebird trail, and an outdoor classroom. Whole- school use of the garden area for cross-curricular activities increased this school year, and SA showed an increase in staff providing engaging, integrated, environmentally-focused lessons throughout all grade levels and content areas.
NCGS School of Excellence 2016-present
Watauga School demonstrates excellence in all five areas of the Green School rubric. Teachers, staff, and leaders within our school system work with students to create a culture that promotes the values of sustainability and conservation. A recent survey of teachers at our school indicates that sustainability plays a part in the curricula of a majority of classes, and that students apply what they have learned in the classroom within the community. Notably, students have designed, researched, and implemented projects such as a rain garden and multiple water bottle filling stations.
Our school campus is LEED Silver certified and was designed with sustainability principles in mind. Our school uses energy-efficient lighting, a wind turbine, water-efficient bathrooms, a geothermal HVAC system, passive-solar lighting (including solar tubes in the science classrooms), a state of the art greenhouse, and a working horticulture farm to maximize the use of sustainable practices on our ecampus. Since the campus was constructed ten years ago, further improvements have been made to maximize sustainability. Most recently, water bottle filling stations that were installed in the Spring of 2017 have already prevented thousands of plastic water bottles from being carelessly used and thrown into our landfills.
Our school’s culture, in addition to the culture of the local community, promotes health and well-being. A majority of our teachers take students outside during class, and we require Healthful Living and Physical Education courses for graduation. Our cafeteria also follows the MyPlate nutritional guidelines and offers a variety of nutritional food.
Sustainability is also incorporated into the curricula of classes across many disciplines, as indicated by the WHS Green School teacher survey. 100% of respondents had incorporated some aspect of sustainability into their curriculum. Of the teachers surveyed, 97% felt that it is important to include sustainability principles and practices as part of a High School Education. The same percentage of teachers surveyed agreed that it is important that Watauga High School to be designed, operated, and maintained in a sustainable manner. Any student who graduates from Watauga High School has learned about sustainability within the context of the local environment and has applied that knowledge to local and global issues.
Our school is innovative in its design, location, and through our teacher & student leadership. Watauga High School was the first school in the state to be built as a LEED certified public school, setting a new standard for future public school construction. The strategic location near a mountain headwater stream and forested Greenway encourages outdoor nature exploration with real world and place-based education. Teacher and student leadership includes multiple partnerships with community service organizations, hosting Mountain Alliance, a youth service & adventure nonprofit, solar-powered cameras installed in on-campus bird houses, and a GLOBE citizen-science forest trail, among others.
NCGS Schools of Quality
NC Green School of Quality 2015-2016
NC Green School of Promise 2014-2015
Part of the mission of Carolina International School is to “develop resourceful and responsible citizens and leaders of our local and global communities.” A new CIS building design included green components such as building orientation, low flow water fixtures, low VOC paint and adhesives, recycled content in carpet and flooring, concrete floors in common areas, daylight lighting and light sensors in common areas. The cleaning staff uses low VOC cleaners and green practices.
CIS has a class for all K-6th graders in Environmental Studies. All grade levels have environmental projects for which they are responsible. The middle and high students are responsible for the general upkeep of the landscaping and participating in new projects. The Fifth Grade Green Team is totally responsible for the school-wide recycling program. The Fourth Graders have just installed a bird feeding/housing area in the courtyard which they are responsible for maintaining. The Third Grade runs the composting at the school. Kindergarten, First and Second Grades have gardens to tend.
There has been a platform and gazebo built at one of the 3 ponds on campus, which will allow student access for water quality testing. There currently are three outdoor classroom spaces with plans for additional ones.
CIS participates yearly in NC Big Sweep and is one of the best attended clean up in the county. CIS has a school-wide Earth Day celebration week each school year. There are presenters from community organizations that come teach the students, as well as teacher-led lessons. Earth Day has included an evening event to include parents, and additional community organizations. There was a uniform swap and non-powered toy swap as part of the event. Weekly, there is a Zero Waste Lunch competition among the classes.
NC Green School of Quality, 2013-present.
Cane Creek’s “Green Team” is very proud of the efforts the school is making in going green and has presented the school’s efforts to the public at the 2014 Home, Garden and Green Living Show. Cane Creek is committed to this cause and is working each year to not just maintain the programs implemented in the past but to improve on them while initiating new programs each year.
Cane Creek is fortunate to be nestled in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains. The picturesque school grounds are used for education and recreation daily. Science classes study the ecosystem of the stream behind the school first hand with wet feet. Cane Creek embraces the Global Education initiative and is working hard to implement more of the global education practices across the curriculum. Cane Creek strives to reduce the school’s energy consumption, water consumption, and the amount of waste it generates. It sets and attains target goals in these areas regularly.
Environmental issues and citizenship are taught, researched, and discussed across the curriculum on a local and global scale. Students are encouraged to compare their own perception and experiences with that of other students across the planet. Cane Creek is working to implement the STE(A)M curriculum through Project Lead The Way. Students not only learn in the classroom, but are given opportunities to put their learning into practice through their participation in after school clubs and school sponsored volunteer service projects.
NC Green School of Quality, 2016- present
With the creation of an innovative Green Team this year, Owen High is building a more sustainably minded culture through the collaboration of student leaders, teachers, parents, administrators and community partners. Administrative staff support green school ideas and are committed to creating an energy efficient and healthy school environment. The hope is that the commitment of each student and staff person goes beyond the school environment to include lifestyle and life long changes. Owen High School is committed to continuous growth informed by current research as witnessed by the establishment of advocate groups and numerous community partnerships.
Together with custodians, cafeteria staff, students and teachers, the green team has implemented an efficient recycling program and significantly decreased school waste. In addition, the green team worked to educate the school through professional development, morning announcements, informative signage and lesson plans that reached the entire student body. This commitment to sustainability also comes from the district level. A new roof made of Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO), an energy savings material that reflects light and maintains temperature control, was installed. The energy department has upgraded all of the building’s light bulbs to LED status and together with the green team brought a panel of experts to the school to discuss the possibility of bringing solar energy to Owen. This forum was attended by some 120 students.
Curriculum integration at Owen is an ongoing process. Many classes such as Ag Mechanics, Green Building, Core & Sustainability, Foods and Health & PE incorporate components of Healthy Schools and interdisciplinary learning into their subjects. Science classes provide outdoor learning opportunities, environmental education, field studies and hands on learning throughout the year. Special Education classes incorporate service learning projects like recycling and working in the community garden.
The English department mentored juniors and seniors as some chose research paper topics or senior projects relating to the environment or sustainable living. Examples of STEAM integration includes science olympiad, a new 3D printer, student computer club presentation at NCTIES, and 1:1 devices given to all Freshman with a plan for 1:1 for the rest of the school in 2017-18 school year.
Innovative practices include Owen High’s faithful partnership with Outward Bound established in 2013 and a new Thirst project club that will raise awareness about the global water crisis and explore ways to support third world countries and student driven initiatives leading to school and community improvement projects including work in the community garden, our recent investigation into installing solar panels, hydration stations, and outdoor classroom spaces.
NC Green School of Quality 2016- present, NC Green School of Promise, 2013-2015
Fairview’s garden has been featured in the school newsletter, the school’s website, and in the Fairview Town Crier. In 2016 it was a part of ASAP’s Garden Tour. PTA members fund an Americorps volunteer who plans and implements lessons in the garden. Plants are introduced and foods are grown, harvested, and eaten. In the past the school has reused plastic bottles to warm the soil of the hoop houses in the garden. A horticultural therapist has assisted students with disabilities and raised beds were built in 2014 for ease of access. The garden is certified as a Wildlife Habitat by the NWF. The school offers a garden workday on Saturdays for parents, students, teachers, and community members to help maintain the garden. Our school applied for and has received a Master Gardeners Grant through the Buncombe County Extension Office. Fairview Elementary is the site of the Fairview Farmer’s Market, held each Saturday during the season.
In front of the school is an area with a garden path, bench, rhododendron, azalea, red buds, and other local species. The school raises money through multiple “Jeans” days to support beautification efforts. PTA maintains a landscaping budget and the school has received donations from Creekside Nursery. Lights are turned off when rooms are unoccupied, computers are unplugged and HVACs are turned off when teachers leave. Some classrooms integrate conservation practices into the curriculum; for example students are asked to take only one paper towel and make sure the sink is off. One class has used newspaper to make new paper for the past three years.
Every classroom has a paper recycling bin that is emptied by fourth-graders weekly. In spring of 2016, recycling became available for milk cartons during lunch and in November, Fairview participated in America Recycles Day. Aluminum and plastic are also collected in separate bins. Batteries are collected for recycling or proper disposal and a community partner, Happy Tails Country Club, advertises and collects for the school. Students across grade levels are provided lessons on environmental topics, and a third-grader entered and won BCS’s Soil and Water Conservation Contest in 2017.
One teacher continues to earn credit towards her environmental education certificate and, as part, has attended ASAP’s Growing Minds Farm to School Conference, NCDEQ’s Air Quality workshop, Asheville’s Teacher Institute for Sustainable Forestry in 2016, and several other EE workshops throughout the year. Our school is also a pilot site for a STEM Lab, and classrooms across grade levels work on a STEM challenge in the lab on a weekly basis.
A Boosterthon Fun Run was held to promote exercise and raise money for Fairview’s largest greening project, our “Field of Dreams”. Clothing and disposables are collected for the Destination Imagination team to use in competitions, and this year they included a “recycling” theme into one of their challenges.
Fairview Elementary looks forward to continuing to pursue efforts as an NC Green School, involving the PTA and our students.
NC Green School of Quality, 2013-present
Hall Fletcher Elementary (HFE) is a caring academic community that strives to produce students who are curious and lifelong stewards of the earth. Everyday in the school one can find evidence of students and staff participating in green activities from utilizing the commercial composting service, recycling, gardening and much more. Hall Fletcher is a proud producer of budding environmentalists.
Hall Fletcher also has many avenues for outdoor education. Every week each Hall Fletcher student participates in a Garden Class. They manage the large outdoor garden containing several beds, compost bins and greenhouse. A couple of years ago Hall Fletcher’s Green Team was awarded an energy education grant from Progress Energy and the ACS Foundation to create a StoryWalk on the campus where students can read energy conservation themed books and take a hike at the same time.
NC Green School of Quality, 2019- present
Hilburn Academy, a public STEM model school in Wake County, was recognized as an NC Green School of Quality. The school has had a learning garden for some time, but during the past school year, Hilburn Academy took the initiative to empower students to make environmental changes in the school by forming a Green Team and targeting waste reduction.
Some projects included creating a vermicomposting bin, turning old shoes into collection boxes for recycling crayons and markers and making videos for the school news to encourage correct recycling and waste reduction.
Green Team coordinator and first grade teacher Danielle Smith notes that the Hilburn Academy wanted to give students opportunities outside of the regular brick and mortar classroom and help enrich their learning through hands-on experiences. “We noticed that schools contribute to a large amount of waste that goes into landfills, so we decided to take action,” she says.
Hilburn established a Green Team with the aim of providing a positive learning outlet where students can feel empowered to make a positive difference on their environment and the world around them, Smith says.
“We look forward to continuing to inspire more people throughout our community to make a change and hopefully encourage some future environmentalists as we aim to reduce our waste going into the landfill,” she says.
NC Green School of Quality 2015-2016
At Hominy Valley Elementary (HVE), the staff and administration are invested in developing respect for nature and a sense of responsibility for the earth in their students and community. HVE staff believes that the way to achieve this goal is through a combination of projects and activities throughout each year and across all grade levels that allows their students to experience and participate in learning about and caring for the environment. Many of HVE’s Green projects and activities have become annual traditions that the staff and students anticipate eagerly.
HVE staff and students recite a PBIS pledge every day after the Pledge of Allegiance that aligns with their school-wide focus on teamwork, continual effort and respect for their community, campus and the environment. Respect and concern for the earth is evident at HVE in many ways, from the school-wide recycling program that is managed by HVE’s fourth and fifth grade student Safety Patrol to the outstanding variety of local fruits and vegetables offered by their cafeteria. HVE teachers strive to incorporate hands-on learning to enrich their lessons using HVE’s beautiful campus and outdoor learning centers. HVE staff believes that reaching out to their local community is an integral part of being a Green School.
Parents, local businesses and charitable organizations support HVE in a variety of activities and projects around nature and the environment. Several community members visit HVE to volunteer as coaches for health and fitness activities, conduct student workshops around their butterfly and community garden, and even to bring a therapy dog to school to visit a few students each week as a significant boost to their confidence and self-esteem.
HVE teachers find ways to incorporate hands-on learning in science and nature using the immediate surroundings on their 60-acre campus as well as the woods, fields, and gardens on the adjoining Enka High School campus. This is in addition to field trips to many locations in the Asheville area that also offer instruction in environmental issues. Through these beliefs, values and actions the staff fosters awareness of and respect for the earth, ecosystem, and community at Hominy Valley Elementary.
NC Green School of Quality, 2012-13, 2015-2016.
Owen Middle School takes pride in their green school certification and continuing practices. They have an ongoing Nature Impact Initiative, which includes many faculty members and student groups, to connect their outdoor spaces to student learning and their cultural history. They completed projects such as a raised bed native pollinator garden, a quilt garden, a monarch milkweed planting way station, a partnership with the American Chestnut Foundation to use their land for tree propagation, and a pond/water feature rehabilitation with native plantings.
Owen Middle School’s solar panel array has been providing renewable energy into their grid for the past 6 years. The array was awarded via a Progress Energy grant to hardworking teacher and student grant writers. Teachers can use real time data on enphase.com to track their kWh offsets.
The school culture of “green school practices” permeates all areas of the campus. This acts to showcase for the community at-large (students, parents, guests, neighbors, etc.) that OMS strives to maintain and promote environmental awareness in all areas. The school works through lessons, activities, field experiences, campus projects and more to expose school and community stakeholders that OMS is as “green” as “green” as can be. The Green Team (teachers, staff, students, community members and supporting agencies) works as a collaboratively to be a “GREEN SCHOOL” representative for Buncombe County
NC Green School of Quality 2017-present
Providence Day School has made improving environmental sustainability a central focus. Sustainability Coordinators in each division (Lower, Middle, Upper) work to realize the following mission statement: “Providence Day School seeks to build an environmentally conscientious school community committed to the understanding, appreciation, and stewardship of natural ecosystems.”
We work to provide curricular and extracurricular programming integrated with environmental education and a sustainability ethos across all divisions and grade levels. We can point to initiatives like Environmental Clubs, a school garden, Green Week challenges, days that highlight alternative transportation and carpooling, participation in the “Trout in the Classroom” project organized by Trout Unlimited, and a partnership between the 9th grade class and a local urban farm, Sow Much Good. In addition, environmental education and stewardship appear frequently in schoolwide curriculum. Particularly intense focus comes at several points a 2nd grade Monarch Curriculum featuring a campus Monarch Way Station, Environmental Studies courses in the MS and US, and AP Environmental Science but our World Language, Global Studies, and History courses also address issues related to the environment.
In addition, we continue to revise our facilities and institutional practices with sustainability in mind. This year, we completed a new building for US and MS Humanities and Math classes that will soon be LEEDcertified. The Sustainability Coordinators are involved in long range planning conversations to promote an increasingly sustainable school footprint. We also partner with our third party food service vendor to provide healthy and sustainable food choices in recyclable and compostable packaging, and we offer campus wide recycling, as well as composting in the dining hall and campus cafe. In the coming year, we will expand our composting initiative to other areas of campus, review chemicals used in buildings and on school grounds, evaluate the transportation footprint of our community, and work to mitigate the impact of stormwater runoff from our campus (one small scale project will be a rain garden built and maintained by students).
PDS has a culture of ongoing professional development and a budget that supports faculty as they pursue new and improved skills. The administration at all levels supports professional development around sustainability topics, and the Sustainability Coordinators work to make faculty aware of opportunities available to them. Professional development that faculty have pursued thus far range from the extensive commitment of earning a NC Environmental Educator Certificate to single day activities like site visits with partners and sustainability themed workshops.
NC Green School of Quality, 2016-present
The Raleigh School is set on 18 wooded acres on the outskirts of Raleigh, NC. The school is blessed to have a campus ideal for environmental education and currently is designated as a National Wildlife Certified Wildlife Habitat. Bounded by two streams and adjacent to a planned City of Raleigh Greenway Trail, the campus is home to a variety of wildlife and plants that serve to extend learning beyond the traditional classroom walls. Teachers and children can often be found exploring the grounds, observing the natural world, and utilizing the land to aid in experiments and provide experiential learning opportunities.
The school’s recently revised statement of Abiding Values reasserts the school’s commitment to environmentally sound principles by noting, “We cherish the time that children spend in nature and emphasize outdoor play and environmental stewardship.” Our curriculum is chock full with environmental education starting with our preschoolers who enjoy outdoor time on a new play space (designed by the Natural Learning Initiative located at NC State) that was specifically designed to afford even our youngest children the chance to interact daily with nature.
Our elementary students take advantage of our 18 acres to observe nature and study a variety of terrain and habitats. Topics of elementary study include the forest, oceans, plants and soils, and landforms. All elementary classes take a number of field trips to further engage in the study of North Carolina’s wide variety of eco-communities. Regular field trips include Prairie Ridge EcoStation, Agape Environmental Education Center, Blue Ridge Assembly, Carolina Ocean Studies, the Haw River, and an overnight camping experience on our own campus.
Our school is unique in that we require parent involvement. There are over 40 parent committees that work collaboratively with the administration and teachers. The Environmental Sustainability Committee works to provide support for our very successful Terracycling Brigades, our Crayola marker recycling program, and our current composting program. This committee also sponsors an annual battery and hazardous waste collection event that collects tens of hundreds of pounds of waste. Members of our Gardening Committees use the compost created in our school gardens – many of which are cared for by our students. Working in unison is our Green Team (administrators and teachers) who oversee our new single stream recycling program which involves student delivery of the bi-weekly pick ups.
Our commitment to reducing waste and our carbon footprint is very strong. While many classrooms use traditional composting barrels and a few are vermiculture composting, next year we are entering an agreement with a large NC composter who will include our paper towels, paper plates, pizza boxes, and paper food packaging in addition to the traditional items that are composted.
NC Green School of Quality 2016-present
The Two Rivers Community School culture centers on environmental themes and encourages healthy lifestyle decision making. They believe that incorporating active learning opportunities with lessons in environmental responsibility are critical to developing model citizens who enjoy learning, are empathic, and are engaged in positive change, both locally and globally.
Two Rivers Community School accomplishes their goals through providing a diverse approach to education, ranging from outdoor activities to off-campus learning excursions. Everything their students do is integrated into their academic work, most of which being interdisciplinary. Their strongest community partnership is Buffalo Cove Outdoor Education Center which serves every grade level at Two Rivers. Buffalo Cove provides outdoor experiential learning opportunities for students, introducing many of them to the outdoors for the first time. This immersion experience shapes student views towards the environment, giving them real-life experiences on which to base learning in future lessons in the classroom.
Their curriculum also provides a unique framework for thinking and learning by providing a thriving school garden program, an adventure fitness class, and service learning. As an example, their entire 8th grade develops service projects that serve an array of school and community needs, many of which are environmentally focused. Through the adventure fitness program, the 8th grade designs a fitness program and obstacle course for the entire school to compete in.
The school’s garden program is incorporated in every grade level. For instance, the kindergarten plants seeds for the school wide seedling sale in May. This experience ties directly to their core curriculum. Additionally, their entire 5th grade helped asses and develop a waste management program for the entire school including a composting plan for the garden. Other grades work in the garden, participate in recycling and composting, and dedicate class time and field trips to sustainability issues and environmental awareness.
The school’s Green Team has a solid foundation of teachers, administrators, and the school Garden Coordinator. The Garden Coordinator facilitates lessons pertaining to the garden in concert with the classroom teacher’s curriculum. The School Director and Development Director work with teachers and staff to design and implement innovative ways to integrate lessons of conservation, sustainability, and stewardship.
NC Green School of Quality 2021-present
The Water’s Edge Village School (WEVS) is a k-8 charter school on the northeastern tip of the NC Outer Banks whose student body consists of 41 students and 5 certified teachers. Its founding mission states that it “provides local education to its isolated coastal community, a place rich in natural resources and environmentally-focused organizations. Galvanized by a diverse community of people deeply invested in the success of a local school and grounded in partnerships with children and families, WEVS provides a rigorous, child-centered learning environment. Leadership principles and an academically challenging, integrated, hands-on curriculum empower students by instilling a sense of social and environmental responsibility while nurturing both body and mind.” At WEVS, each student and teacher is a member of the green team, which works to understand environmental issues and how to help.
NCGS Schools of Promise
NC Green School of Promise, 2018-present
Hurley Elementary School’s motto and mindset has shifted to allow for the greatest possible positive impact on the environment and community. We have created staff and student Green Teams to lead the charge! Through conversations about sustainability practices, planning meetings, and go-and-see visits, the Green Team has expanded and continues to include anyone with the desire to assist in carrying out the vision of conservation.
The Hurley community has been a key part of our success in the changes to our school’s environment and have been attentive to projects happening on campus. There have been clean up events, garden planning days, Science/STEM nights, Field Day with a focus on community resources for students and parents, as well as Reading Night projects which focused on our green initiatives. Parents attend these events with students, and are always happy to receive resources which enable them to support their child at home.
We proudly received grants and partnerships from businesses to fund projects and research within our new focus! Some of these include materials for building, healthy snacks for students who arrive late to school, student clubs centered around fitness, and partnerships for mentoring with The Center for the Environment at Catawba College!
Supervision and care of campus has been managed, mostly, by students. They have lead the charge in organizing Elmer’s Glue, marker, and crayon recycling collection as well as many other recycling and clean up efforts. The formation of the student Green Team, leadership clubs, and STEM clubs, has been an integral part of beginning our work toward conservation. The Student Green Team collaborates once each week to collect recycling and remind staff of our continued improvements. The Student Green team also gives feedback on changes they would like to see on campus. They were in charge of air quality examination and analysis.
Efforts for renewable energy and resources include, recycling bins, Student Green Team collection of classroom recycling, water bottle refilling station, lights and blinds tag reminders, grade level gardens, support for Hurricanes Florence and Michael, air quality work, and the list goes on.
NC Green School of Promise 2021-present
The Onslow County Learning Center is located just outside the back gate of Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune in Eastern North Carolina. The campus is located on 16 acres of longleaf pine forest and has a tidal creek, Bear Creek running adjacent to it. Due to its unique location and many natural areas, the campus is an excellent location for the integration of environmental based learning.
NC Green School of Promise, 2016-present
T.C. Roberson High School is the most socioeconomically diverse school in Buncombe County. Additionally, T.C. Roberson is the largest Buncombe County School. Such a large and diverse student body augments to the vast difficulties of becoming a NC Green School. Despite these statistics, T.C. Roberson represents a Green School that has accomplished a multitude of changes, some still ongoing. Besides these accomplishments, the primary reason that Roberson represents a Green School is because of the student body’s ideals, activism and desire for self and communal improvement.
The community at Roberson is one of the most diverse and widely connected communities in the county. With teachers and school organization’s connections, Roberson provides students with countless opportunities to be further involved in community activism, while propelling their own educational experience. From different extracurricular activities including National Honor Society organizations, to classes with environmental issues embedded within their curriculum, to campus wide cleanups, students can and do find ways to become involved.
Even with one of the most diverse economic student bodies, it still is notable that 31% of students receive free lunch. Poverty enables many hardships and among these is often the inability to eat healthy meals and maintain a healthy lifestyle. To accommodate this, Roberson utilizes many techniques, to not only encourage, but also provide students with the opportunity to lead healthy lifestyles.
By being the biggest school in Buncombe County, Roberson produces a lot of waste. To compensate for this, while being environmentally conscious, Roberson has implemented a variety of waste management projects on different levels. Some of these projects encompass the entirety of the student body, while others are managed by organizations run through the school. Our progressive education program implements a unique program to collect recycling. Additionally, the students and staff at Roberson are integrating different techniques to convert more landfill waste to recycling and reduce the overall waste.
Taking into account the numerous difficulties Roberson faces, the school accomplishes a remarkable amount of sustainable and healthy programs and activities. Roberson’s student body’s willingness and persistence toward improvement, compounded by the broad outreach of the programs is why T.C. Roberson High School represents a NC Green School.