Green Gables Elementary is one of 64 schools across the nation to be honored as a 2017 Green Ribbon School for its efforts in environmental sustainability.
The Green Ribbon School awards program recognizes schools, districts and institutions of higher education that:
1. Reduce environmental impacts and costs;
2. Improve the health and wellness of students and staff; and
3. Provide environmental education, which teaches many disciplines, and is especially good at effectively incorporating STEM, civic skills, and green career pathways.
Environmental stewardship is woven into every aspect of the Green Gables school day, from the classroom, to the lunchroom, to the playfield. The school was the first in the district to initiate a comprehensive recycling and composting program and build an organic wheelchair-accessible garden.
As an active partner in the King County Green Schools program, Green Gables has achieved significant results in waste reduction, trading in its eight-yard garbage container for a six-yard container. Green Gables Elementary also succeeded in reducing energy usage by more than 15 percent and greenhouse gas emissions to 16 percent over five years.
Green Gables environmental education is project-based, integrating experiential learning with core standards.
Highlights include raising and releasing salmon, use of the school garden as a living laboratory, and weaving Next Generation Science Standards into thematic units of study. Field trip experiences include trips to Mount Saint Helens, Issaquah Hatchery (FISH Program), Sound Experience and Nisqually Wildlife Center.
Fifth-grade scholars also make an annual visit to Islandwood, an outdoor education center, to learn about watersheds, water conservation and pollution prevention under the mentorship of University of Washington graduate students.
Promoting a healthy and happy lifestyle is also important at Green Gables.
The school has promoted fitness for staff and scholars, hosting walk or bike to school days, fitness challenges, providing nutritional education, stress management and other programs that support holistic wellness for everyone.
Principal Margot Hightower is proud of the hard work and energy it took to make this achievement happen.
“Green Gables has been working for many years to reach this level. Our school’s Green Team is active and excited to have reached a new level of environmental stewardship,” she said.