Oak Harbor Shines During Green Strides Tour

  • Student smiling during the Green Strides Tour Oak Harbor Public Schools took center stage (again) during the annual U.S. Department of Education Green Strides Tour.  The Green Strides Tour featured six different school districts over a three-day event. Oak Harbor Public Schools opened the tour with Broad View Elementary and Hillcrest Elementary hosting federal, state, and local officials, non-profit representatives, and other visitors from neighboring school communities. 

    The green teams at each school escorted the officials around their campus showcasing the OHmazing sustainable initiatives being done at their school.   For Broad View, this included presentations about the food and flower garden, the OHHS Robotics collaboration on a garden shed, the native plant garden, recycling initiative, the maker space, and ended with students biking and walking to school.  They were escorted by the Oak Harbor Fire Department and Oak Harbor Police Department. 

    Robotics student explaining how they built a shed for Broad View Elementary.  At Hillcrest, the tour was greeted by students giving out directions to a variety of stations where the participants engaged in many hands-on student-led activities.   A recycling activity was held in one room, another featured plans for an ADA accessible sensory garden, guests drilled bottle caps into a mural project and others played with the chickens.

    “The annual Green Strides Tour is an opportunity to convene national, state, and local policymakers, legislators, partners, and school communities to listen and learn from our honorees, as well as celebrate their achievements,” noted Andrea Suarez Falken, Director of U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools.

    Student speaking with Dr. Gibbon about his solar panel project.  Oak Harbor continues to place itself among the state and national leaders in school district initiatives.  Many of the projects demonstrated during the tour were student-led initiatives where staff and teachers provided support.  Students are now taking charge and leading the way.

    The two-day event culminated with a panel of state and national leaders where our very own Garden and Sustainability Teacher on Special Assignment, Jodi Crimmins, was featured.  She spoke about the impact the Washington Green Schools and the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon program had on our schools and provided specifics about our sustainability initiatives. 


    More About the Green Strides Tour

    The Green Strides Tour demonstrated the best practices in the school building and grounds design, construction, operations, and management to support health, equity, educational outcomes, energy efficiency, and cost savings in our nation’s schools. 

    During the tour, federal, state, and local officials, non-profit representatives, and other visitors from neighboring school communities brought additional attention to how rebuilding schools with sustainable infrastructure cuts costs and creates healthier, safer, more equitable learning environments that support the needs of the whole child. Modern, educationally adequate green schools and grounds facilitate hands-on learning about sustainability, natural resources, the environment, design, construction, and agriculture, preparing students for two- and four-year postsecondary degrees and professions not yet imagined. 

    Sustainability education includes broadly transferrable and versatile educational competencies like critical thinking, collaboration, communication, creativity, and cultural competence. Green schools offer learning environments that are agile, relevant, and exciting. Furthermore, the updating of school facilities and grounds for sustainable operations and environmental education fosters engagement with families and communities, as well as generating local employment.