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State Education Agency Nominates Three Green Ribbon Schools

Three Vermont schools have been nominated for national recognition as environmental leaders. Champlain Valley Union High School, Camels Hump Middle School and Lake Region Union High School are all in contention for U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools recognition, which will be awarded on Earth Day, April 22.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the Green Ribbon Schools designation "honors schools and districts that are exemplary in reducing environmental impact and costs; improving the health and wellness of students and staff; and providing effective environmental and sustainability education, which incorporates STEM, civic skills and green career pathways."

Camels Hump Middle School earned its nomination by focusing on the environment, renewable energy, nutrition, and wellness. Throughout the school year, students can be found on Lake Champlain research vessels, local farms, river shore preserves, wildlife refuges, and granite quarries.

"We have built effective partnerships to collaboratively engage students in the environment, health, and education." -Camels Hump Middle School Assistant Principal Suzanne Gruendling

Camels Hump Middle School Assistant Principal Suzanne Gruendling said, “We have built effective partnerships to collaboratively engage students in the environment, health, and education.”

Champlain Valley Union High School launched a “Push Me” campaign last month, encouraging the students and staff to turn off computers and monitors at the end of the day in an effort to save energy and to help lower the school’s electricity bills.

"I am incredibly proud of the work our maintenance staff, along with our school community, led by our environmental action club,” said CVU Interim Principal Jeff Evans. “CVU has embraced the challenge of being more energy efficient.”

In recent years, Lake Region’s agriculture program has changed its focus from dairy to sustainable agriculture and stewardship. The school touts its healthy learning and working environment, energy efficiency, the well-being of its students, and the increased focus on sustainability education and practices.

“The most visible and quantifiable success of our work has been the sustained reduction in the consumption of oil and electricity,” said Lake Region Union High School Principal Andre Messier.

Schools are nominated for the award by participating state education agencies. Vermont Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe said, “We’ve been working with other state agencies and education partners to support our schools in reducing their carbon footprint across the state. These schools are models of the good work our schools and students are doing to create a more sustainable future.”

The Vermont Agency of Education was one of 30 agencies to submit nominations to the program last year.