FAU Pine Jog Celebrates Local Schools for ‘Going Green’

Green Schools 2019

Green Team at Indian Ridge School, a 2019 Green School of Excellence and winner of a Judge’s Choice Award for solid waste reduction sponsored by the Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County. From left to right are Laurie Naparstek, Cindy Saulog, Oscar Gamez, Jill Williams, Assistant Principal Eugene Ford, Patricia Legan and Stephanie Webster.

By teresa crane | 6/21/2019

Florida Atlantic University Pine Jog Environmental Education Center recently celebrated the Green Schools Class of 2019 at the 11th annual Green Schools Awards at FAU’s Boca Raton campus. Public and private schools in Palm Beach and Martin counties that made the grade in “going green” this year totaled 129, growing from 21 schools in 2008.

The Green Schools Recognition Program (GSRP) recognizes schools that have taken a holistic and innovative approach to greening their campuses and academic programs. Efforts include outdoor learning, campus gardens, recycling, energy and water conservation, interdisciplinary environmental curriculum, local habitat studies, green community service projects, healthy eating and fitness programs, and a school-wide commitment to sustainability.

“When this is the kind of school where students learn and grow, environmental sustainability becomes a part of how they see the world and how they see themselves,” said Ray Coleman, executive director of FAU Pine Jog.  “They know that their learning is connected to the world around them, that their actions count, and that they can make a difference - not just one day in the future, but right now.”

Representing 37 percent of all schools in Palm Beach and Martin counties, the program is coordinated by FAUPine Jog Environmental Education Center in collaboration with the School District of Palm Beach County (SDPBC) and the Martin County School District (MCSD).  It relies on local organizations, agencies and businesses to serve as school mentors, application judges, and award sponsors each year.

The program, cited as a Collaboration Award winner, received national attention as one of only nine recipients of a 2019 Best of Green Schools Award from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools and the Green Schools National Network. 

“There is no question that this national award reflects the work of the incredible teachers, administrators, students, and staff that we are honoring today - and of the community partners that support their efforts,” said Anne Henderson, director of education at FAU Pine Jog.  “Together, they are doing something remarkable in our community – building cultures of environmental stewardship and sustainability at every level in our schools. We are so proud of all that they are accomplishing.” 

FAU Pine Jog distributed 40cash prizes totaling more than $16,000 to Palm Beach and Martin County schools and individuals implementing exceptional green school programs and practices. All cash awards are intended to help local schools continue to grow their “green” projects. 

Top award recipients were Bridges Montessori winning first place and $2,000; H. L. Johnson Elementary School taking second place and $1,000; and Whispering Pines Elementary School receiving third place and $750.

In addition, Judge’s Choice Awards recognized specific categories. Award sponsors, amount, winning schools and specific category are as follows:

  • Audubon Society of the Everglades awarded $500 to Coral Sunset Elementary School for habitat improvement.
  • Bus One Charter Buses awarded $250 each to Highland Elementary School and Boca Raton Community High School for best “green” school video.
  • City of West Palm Beach Mayor’s Office of Sustainability awarded $500 to Grassy Waters Elementary School for the WPB Green My School Award.
  • Eat Better Live Better awarded $250 to Equestrian Trails Elementary School for health and well-being.
  • Environmental Quality, Inc., awarded $250 to Palm Springs Middle School for student-led initiatives.
  • Florida Federation of Garden Clubs District X awarded $250 to Palm Beach Day Academy for habitat improvement.
  • Florida Power & Light awarded $500 to Elbridge Gale Elementary School for energy conservation.
  • FUNraising Dollars awarded $250 to Coral Reef Elementary School for green fundraising.
  • Garden Club of Stuart awarded $250 to Palm City Elementary School for gardening.
  • Green Angel (Anonymous) awarded $250 to Hope Center for Autism for the Bright Start Award.
  • Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful, Inc., awarded $300 each to Atlantic Community High School for the Go Native Award and Dwight D. Eisenhower Elementary School for the Rookie Green School Award. 
  • Loggerhead Marinelife Center awarded $250 to Highland Elementary School for the Blue Leader Award.
  • Loxahatchee River District’s River Center awarded $250 to Conniston Community Middle School for water conservation.
  • Mounts Botanical Garden of Palm Beach County awarded $500 each to Everglades Elementary School and Timber Trace Elementary School for best vegetable gardens.
  • Oleander Garden Club of the Palm Beaches awarded $250 to A. D. Henderson University School and FAU High School for outstanding school garden.
  • FAU Pine Jog Environmental Education Center awarded $250 each to Jupiter Community Middle School for community involvement and Crystal Lake Elementary School for curriculum integration.
  • School District of Palm Beach County’s Environmental and Conservation Services Department awarded $300 each to Golden Grove Elementary School, Limestone Creek Elementary School, and Boca Raton Community High School for overall school sustainability.
  • SEQUIL Systems, Inc., awarded $250 each to Forest Hill Elementary School for energy conservation and to Plumosa School of the Arts for the Best Green School of Delray Beach Award.
  • Sierra Club Loxahatchee Group awarded $250 to Jupiter Elementary School for the Foot and Pedal Power Award.
  • Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County awarded $500 to Sandpiper Shores Elementary School (first place) and $250 to Indian Ridge School (runner-up) for solid waste reduction and conservation.
  • Susan Toth Outstanding Outdoor Environmental Education Award of $500 went to Hobe Sound Elementary School.
  • West Palm Beach Garden Club awarded $250 to Jensen Beach Elementary School for the Molly Sims Best Butterfly Learning Garden Award.

The Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County (SWA) sponsored four additional awards to recognize facilities and food service personnel for their significant contributions to school sustainability efforts. 

Patrick Albano, head custodian at Orchard View Elementary School, was named Green Facilities Staff Member of the Year and received $500.  Benjamin Chapman, custodian at Tradewinds Middle School, received $250 as the runner-up for this award. The Green Food Service Staff Member of the Year was Helen O’Laughlin, cafe manager at American Heritage School of Boca/Delray, who received $500.  Charlotte “Charlie” Peterman, cafeteria manager at Crosspointe Elementary School, received $250 as the runner-up in this category.  

Georgia Brooks, a graduating senior at Palm Beach Central High School, was named the Green Student of the Year and awarded a $500 scholarship for dedication to greening her school.  Dianne Rivelli-Schreiber, principal of Calusa Elementary School, was nominated by her school for Green Principal of the Year and was awarded $500. Green Teacher of the Year was awarded to Jennifer Drake of West Gate Elementary School who received $500 for her exemplary commitment to green learning. 

To learn more about the Green Schools Recognition Program and awardees, contact Anne Henderson at ahender8@fau.edu or Lauren Butcher at lbutcher2013@fau.edu.

Pine Jog Environmental Education Center is a unit of the College of Education at Florida Atlantic University. Established in 1960, Pine Jog is dedicated to developing, researching, and disseminating highly effective educational programs and services that cultivate environmentally literate and engaged citizens.  For more information, contact Pine Jog at 561-686-6600 or visit www.pinejog.fau.edu.