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### USGBC’s Center for Green Schools Unveils 2024 Winners of “Best of Green Schools” Award

At the announcement of the 2024 Best of Green Schools Awards by the U.S. Green Building Council, several notable recipients were recognized, including Boston Public Schools, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Amanda Talantis, a dedicated school teacher from Gulf Shores, Ala. The complete list of awardees and the reasons behind their selection can be found below.

Presented during the 2024 Green Schools Conference in Santa Fe, these awards celebrate and acknowledge individuals, schools, campuses, and organizations actively contributing to the advancement of green schools nationwide. The Green Schools Conference serves as a pivotal gathering that unites advocates and creators of green schools, offering a three-day platform that fosters inspiration and progress within the green schools community.

Anisa Heming, the director at the Center for Green Schools, expressed, “The exceptional progress made by the individuals and organizations we honor today in advancing green schools is truly commendable. Their efforts have not only inspired students, teachers, and communities but have also nurtured greener, more sustainable learning environments.” She emphasized that achievements such as emission reductions, waste management, and improvements in air quality are a direct result of the unwavering dedication and collaborative efforts of those being celebrated.

Jennifer Seydel, the executive director at the Green Schools National Network, highlighted, “This year’s awardees are pioneers and practitioners leading the way in establishing sustainable learning environments and opportunities for children nationwide. Their dedication to sustainability education reflects a profound understanding of the impact of where and how children learn on our journey towards a sustainable and equitable future for all.”

The awards were distributed across ten categories to organizations and individuals who have significantly contributed to the advancement of green schools. Here are some of this year’s distinguished recipients:

  • K–12 School:
    St. Mark’s School in Southborough, Mass., has demonstrated remarkable progress by implementing a sustainability strategic plan in 2015. Their initiatives include substantial reductions in waste and water consumption, carbon emission elimination through green power contracts, and divestment from fossil fuels. By surpassing their climate action goals two years ahead of schedule, St. Mark’s sets a high standard for sustainable practices in education.

  • School System:
    Boston Public Schools has prioritized sustainability by implementing various programs that enhance learning environments and equip students with the knowledge to build environmentally conscious communities. Through the sustainability, energy, and environment program, the district has made significant improvements in indoor air quality, water accessibility, and overall energy efficiency.

  • School District Champion:
    Lisa Randall, the former sustainability program coordinator for Santa Fe Public Schools, played a pivotal role in reducing the district’s environmental impact. Under her leadership, the district achieved substantial milestones such as generating electricity from solar power and reducing water and energy consumption. Lisa’s legacy continues to influence students, teachers, and the community even after her retirement.

  • Policy Maker:
    U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Representatives Jahana Hayes (D-CT) and Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) introduced the Green Ribbon Act to enhance the Green Ribbon Schools program. This legislation aims to expand resources for states to encourage more schools to pursue and achieve environmentally friendly practices.

  • Ambassador:
    Tatjana Rebelle has been instrumental in promoting sustainability initiatives in K-12 schools across Indiana through various funding programs. By integrating green features into school environments and curriculum, Tatjana has successfully made sustainability a core aspect of daily school operations and student engagement.

These exemplary individuals and organizations, along with the remaining awardees, have played a crucial role in advancing the green schools movement, setting a precedent for sustainable practices in education and beyond.