America’s Greenest Schools

Both Pip Wilson’s Blogmanac and Treehugger give a nod to a Green Guide article, “America’s Top 10 Green Schools.” Clearly, a number of schools around the country are taking very innovative steps to green their buildings and grounds, as well as their curriculums, and they deserve the praise. I was particularly impressed with the criteria that GG created for judging schools: everything from LEED certification to environmental education to school lunches were assessed in determining schools of note. Most importantly, though, the article notes that while there’s been impressive progress, we still have a long ways to go:

“It’s not enough to be doing less harm,” Heidi Fichtenbaum at [Farewell Mills Gatsch Architects] says. “We have to be doing something that benefits our world so they [the students] don’t see this separation between the natural and built environment.” That’s advice that more and more schools are trying to inculcate in their students as they expand such green oases. “We have to go back to seeing ourselves as part of that environment,” she observes.

“Green building is taking off right now,” Bryna Dunn of Moseley [Architects of Virginia and North Carolina] agrees, adding “People realize that this makes sense for so many reasons. It’s healthy, it’s smart, it’s a responsible use of tax dollars [and] it raises test scores.”

Cheaper operating costs, higher health benefits, raised test scores and greater environmental awareness — can we ask for any more from our schools? This could be a model for really leaving no child behind… Of course, we’re definitely talking about initiatives that only certain schools and school districts can afford to take, so some sort of public funding could make a real difference in making sure that all students have a clean, healthy, green environment in which to learn.

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