It’s official! Oak Harbor Public Schools has been named a 2019 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School District Sustainability Awardee. Recent honors at the state level by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction made the district eligible for this national recognition.
Students, staff, teachers, and volunteers are encouraged to wear green on Monday, June 3 for a district-wide “Green Day” celebration for this accomplishment.
Only 14 districts in the U.S. were recognized for their innovative efforts to address the three pillars of the program: reducing environmental impact and utility costs, improving health and wellness and ensuring effective sustainability education. The program also recognized 35 schools as 2019 winners. Two Oak Harbor schools are prior national awardees.
While the district’s student-led school gardens and compost programs are well documented, Oak Harbor has made significant improvements in many other areas. For example, in the last five years the district added 15 percent more interior square footage, but reduced energy use by five percent. Adding LED lighting, condensing boilers and energy efficient use of classrooms (turning off lights, closing doors, lack of excessive water use, etc.) continue to result in significant savings.
The district also demonstrated strong water quality, efficiency, and conservation and implemented a solid waste management program focusing on reducing, reusing, recycling and on-site worm composting at most of our school buildings. In addition, adding 19 propane buses to the district’s bus fleet has drastically affected the carbon footprint previously created by diesel buses, while saving money and improving air quality.
These honors, coupled with national and state awards at each of our elementary schools, led to this incredible achievement. Student learning and engagement in science, agriculture and the environment through green and sustainability projects are ever expanding. This honor is a tremendous recognition of the district’s continued success and stewardship.
Later this fall, five Oak Harbor representatives will travel to Washington, D.C., for a special 2019 awards ceremony at the Herbert C. Hoover Building Auditorium. To read more about the sustainability initiatives in Oak Harbor click here.
More information about the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools program can be found on their website.