The U.S. Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools has taken the old apple for the teacher chestnut and turned it around, recently sponsoring the second annual Green Apple Day of Service. The event is designed to highlight the Center’s mission to transform every school to a green school. Approximately twenty-five percent of American—not only students, but faculty, administrators and maintenance staff—spend their days in a school building, and the Center is determined to make campuses healthier places to learn and work.
Photo © Ana Ka'ahanui
The Green Apple Day of Service seeks volunteers from around a school’s community to host local projects that can help make the school more sustainable. Emily Riordan, Grassroots Outreach coordinator with the Center, says, “Volunteers go back to that school throughout the year to work toward longer-term sustainability goals. [It] is truly a starting point for lots of great actions being taken by schools across the country and around the world to improve the buildings that our kids are learning in."
This fall, schools sponsored more than 2,000 tasks and events with thousands of volunteers on board. There were service projects in all 50 states and in more than 30 countries around the world, including a stream study, clean-up and scavenger hunt in Columbia, Maryland; students visiting a biogas plants in Karnataka, India; an educational event in Giza, Egypt for students about the country’s energy problems; building a rain garden to help drainage issues at a Worthington, Ohio, school (with bird baths donated by a neighborhood Girl Scout troop); and even a celebration in Gages Lake, Illinois for the Woodland Primary School’s recent LEED Silver certification.
A green school is one that creates a healthy environment that is conducive to learning while saving energy, resources, and money. This worldwide celebration spotlights The Center for Green Schools’ work, which is twofold. Not only are they charged with making sure the best and the greenest schools are being built, but the organization also seeks to transform existing buildings and campuses.
Rachel Gutter, Director of The Center for Green Schools, concludes, “We're making it local and we're making it personal. This is about taking care of our communities, our families and our children.”