From the Executive Director: 
Buy Green, Save Green? Shining a Light on Green Procurement in K-12 Schools
 
To echo Kermit the Frog, "It's not easy being green." Especially when it comes to purchasing "green" products. According to the website Ecolabel Index , there are 464 eco labels across 25 industry sectors. Many of these labels are nothing more than "greenwashing," providing false, misleading, or unsubstantiated claims about the product in question. Very few labels provide any meaningful guidance when it comes to purchasing environmentally preferable products. It's no wonder that so many consumers are confused  when it comes to buying green.
 
This confusion extends to schools and school districts that want to implement green purchasing policies. Many already operate on tight budgets. Few have the time to sort through labels to find the bad actors. All want to make the right choice, economically and for the health and well-being of students, staff, and the environment. Is it really worth the effort? Where do you even begin?
 
One place to start is by looking for third party verification from organizations and government agencies without a vested interest in the products being verified. These third parties have established labels with verifiable criteria and standards that are generally more rigorous and set a high bar for earning the label. Think Green Seal , Energy Star , USDA Organic , Safer Choice . Furthermore, these products are not necessarily more expensive or less effective than their conventional counterparts. Good news for schools and school districts facing tough choices when it comes to procurement.
 
This issue of GreenNotes explores the ins and outs of green purchasing and why it is so important for creating and maintaining healthy learning environments. Josh Jacobs, Technical Information & Public Affairs Manager for UL, discusses what to look for when purchasing greener, more sustainable products and shares several tools that can aid in product research and procurement.   Shawna Cragun, Director of Custodial Services for the Davis School District in Farmington, Utah, explains what you need to know before adopting green procurement practices and shares how Davis School District made the shift in an effort to green their cleaning program.
 
It's easy to forget that adopting a sustainability mindset involves much more than aiming for zero energy or teaching in the school garden. In fact, making greener purchasing decisions can be one of the simplest and easiest ways to start down that path. Perhaps...it can be easy to go green!
 
Jenny
Green Procurement Strategies for Health and Well-Being in Schools

Josh Jacobs, Technical Information & Public Affairs Manager for UL, discusses what to look for when purchasing greener, more sustainable products and shares several tools that can aid in product research and procurement. 
A Perspective on Buying Green: A Former Procurement Agent Shares Lessons Learned

Shawna Cragun, Director of Custodial Services for the Davis School District in Farmington, Utah, explains what you need to know before adopting green procurement practices and shares how Davis School District made the shift in an effort to green their cleaning program. 
GSNN Educator's Toolbox: Professional Development, Resources, Grants, and Awards for April

The latest news on professional development, resources, grants, and awards for April.  
Read the Spring 2018 Catalyst Quarterly!

Net zero is the future of school design. The Spring 2018 issue of the Green Schools Catalyst Quarterly explores what net-zero is, how it is being implemented in schools and districts across the country, and its implications for the future of school design, operations, management, curriculum, and instruction. Articles cover the latest research, case studies of exemplary schools and districts, evidence-based resources, and how schools and districts can apply the lessons learned by others to bring net-zero to their facilities. 

Carry the Green Schools Catalyst Quarterly wherever you go!  Download the app from  iTunesGoogle Play, or Amazon  today.  

GSNN's Al Stentrup recognized with Lifetime Achievement Award for service to green education

Green Schools National Network Board Member Al Stenstrup was recognized on April 13 in Boston by Project Green Schools as one of their 2018 Green Difference Award winners. Al is receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award for his service to green education.

Al has worked in education for over 40 years, starting out as an eighth grade Earth and Environmental Science teacher in Wisconsin. Teaching allowed him to pass along his love of sharing and learning about the environment to his students. Al also discovered that, in addition to learning about the environment, it was important to give students opportunities to be engaged in their schools and communities. Thus, youth voice became an integral part of his life's work, from teaching in schools to working for Project Learning Tree to advancing the green schools movement.
 
Al has been a firm believer in green, healthy, and sustainable schools from day one. To him, green schools provide the opportunities students need to become leaders in their schools and communities. Al has lived this belief as a founding member of Wisconsin Green Schools, a Green Schools National Network board member, and a tireless advocate for green schools at the state, national, and global levels. 
 
In his most recent venture, Al formed Our First Garden, Inc. in 2017. This small nonprofit supports the building and operation of gardens and natural outdoor play areas on school grounds in developing countries, including Guatemala, Peru, and the Philippines.

Says Al:
 
"I am honored to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from Project Green Schools. It has been a wonderful journey from the 8th grade classroom in Wisconsin to sharing green school programs across the world. I have learned so much from so many talented educators and students during my lifetime. My journey is not over - I look forward to my next adventure in May in Chile - my next new friend - and learning new ideas tomorrow."

We are proud of Al's work and commitment to green, healthy, and sustainable schools, and cannot think of a more worthy recipient for this award. Congrats Al!
Green Schools National Network on Go Green Radio!

On March 30th, Jenny Seydel was a guest on Jill Buck's Go Green Radio show! Jenny joined the Center for Green Schools' Anisa Heming to discuss the upcoming Green Schools Conference and Expo, the work that they are currently engaged in, and the status of the green schools movement.

In Other News...

Green Schools National Network's blog shares timely stories and news from Catalyst Network Schools and School Districts, Network sponsors and partners, and others involved in advocating for green, healthy, and sustainable schools. Check out some of our most recent blog posts below!



W rite for GreenNotes!

Green Schools National Network's newsletter, GreenNotes, focuses on one overarching topic each month. We will consider articles for the month that best matches the topic. Have a question about an upcoming theme? Contact cmerse@greenschoolsnationalnetwork.org.
 
We are looking for a variety of articles for GreenNotes, including:
  • Case studies of schools and school districts doing exemplary work in environmental and sustainability initiatives.
  • Profiles of leaders and advocates in the green schools movement.
  • News and current events of interest to the green schools movement.
 
Themes for the next three issues include:

Technology and Sustainability Education - May 2018
Submission deadline: April 27, 2018

The ever-increasing role that technology plays in our lives is often to blame for our equally increasing disconnect from the natural world, especially among younger generations. However, technology can be a powerful tool in connecting young people to the natural world and in solving some of our most pressing sustainability challenges. This issue of GreenNotes takes a look at how using technology in the classroom to support environmental and sustainability literacy engages students in authentic learning that connects them to human and non-human communities, promotes a stewardship ethic, and inspires a lifelong commitment to caring for our planet.
 

Promoting Lifelong Fitness/Recreation in the Outdoors - July 2018
Submission deadline: June 29, 2018

Being active outdoors is a positive lifestyle choice for all ages. However, physical activity in the outdoors benefits more than mind, body, and soul. It has the potential to connect people more deeply with the natural world. More and more, schools and school districts are realizing that PE need not be confined to the gymnasium. This issue of GreenNotes shines a light on innovative fitness and recreation programs that are not only getting students out of the classroom and into nature, but exposing them to recreational opportunities they can partake in for a lifetime.  
 

Social-Emotional Learning in Green Schools - August 2018
Submission deadline: August 3, 2018

Green, healthy, and sustainable schools nurture not just their students' physical health and well-being, but their social and emotional health as well. These schools embody a culture that promotes respect, trust, empathy, integrity, and compassion for those within and outside the school community, humans and non-humans alike. This issue of GreenNotes highlights schools and school districts that are implementing social-emotional learning best practices that lead to whole child development: not just the mind, but the heart as well.
Work with Green Schools National Network!

Green Schools National Network's professional development and coaching services are designed to help schools and school districts adopt sustainability practices that align with their strategic goals. Our work is guided by the GreenPrintâ„¢ for Green, Healthy, and Sustainable Schools and its five core principles: curriculum, stewardship, facilities and operations, health and well-being, and leadership. Along with our professional development collaborative partners, we are positioned to help schools and school districts adopt a culture of sustainability that permeates every aspect of education: planning, policy development, program implementation, finances, curricula, teaching, learning, assessment, and administration.

So...what can Green Schools National Network do for you? Check out this brief summary of a site visit our school coach, David DenHartog, conducted at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

This spring, two new Green Schools National Network partner schools, Whitewater Middle School and Bruns Elementary School, sent teams down to northern Georgia to learn from education for sustainability leaders. Whitewater and Bruns, both a part of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School (CMS) District, are beginning a five-year transformation into model E-STEM magnet schools. Green Schools National Network is serving as a lead partner in these efforts.



 
A team of fifteen educators from CMS spent two days visiting Ford Elementary School, in Acworth, Georgia and a handful of schools in the Marietta School District. Ford Elementary School students and staff shared aspects of their Citizen Science program and Captain Planet garden. Participants dug their hands into vermicomposting bins, searching for hardworking worms. Ford Elementary School provided a great example of the positive impact of environmental literacy on student success - both academic and social!



 
During the visit of the Marietta schools, the CMS team was introduced to a K-12 engineering pipeline that highlighted both multi-school coordination and the power of community partnerships. Serving a diverse population, the Marietta schools showcased the impact of a common mission and unified efforts.
 
Undoubtedly, the CMS team left the experience full of new ideas on how to integrate innovative ideas into their budding E-STEM schools. Both the Whitewater Middle and Bruns Elementary teams are deepening their understanding of education for sustainability and will use this knowledge to support their efforts.

Ready to get started?

Contact  jseydel@greenschoolsnationalnetwork.org for more information on the range of professional services that Green Schools National Network has to offer schools and school districts.




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