November 23 (Reston, VA) — As the recently-approved United States host of the international Eco-Schools program, the National Wildlife Federation has started recruiting public, private and charter K-12 schools in the U.S. to participate in the school greening movement and in improving environmental education.
The new Eco-Schools USA program is part of a rapidly-growing international network of 30,000 schools in 47 nations worldwide. The program deploys teams of students, administrators, teachers and community volunteers at each registered school to make their buildings, grounds and curriculum more green while making students more environmentally aware.
“This holistic program integrates greening school buildings and grounds along with environmental learning,” said Laura Hickey, Senior Director of Global Warming Education for the National Wildlife Federation. “This approach enhances student environmental awareness, understanding and stewardship.”
One of the major benefits of the Eco-Schools USA program is its ability to improve students’ academic performance, especially in science and math. Research has shown that students of all economic, racial and cultural backgrounds that are engaged in hands-on applied environmental education have an increased desire to learn, and perform better on most measures of student success.
“When I taught kids math skills like measuring, in the classroom, they forgot it and couldn’t make use of it. When the students had a chance to use these skills on our nature trail, they not only learned better but could apply and remember their math skills longer,” said Kim Flynn, math teacher at
Another example of “math and the environment in everyday living” is being taught at
Environmental education is also associated with improved critical thinking skills. A study of 401 9th and 12th grade students in
In the state of
“Our Eco-Schools USA program empowers the students to realize they can make a difference in this world,” says Penrose. “The students develop leadership skills and learn life-long habits they can pass on to others.”
In addition to the academic benefits of the Eco-Schools USA program, participating schools can also realize financial savings, decrease their carbon footprint, reduce school waste, and lower their energy and water consumption.
U.S. Eco-Schools are everywhere, including inner-city schools. Barbara Murphy, a teacher at inner-city
The Eco-Schools program has been around since 1994, developed by the European Commission and run under the auspices of the Foundation for Environmental Education, headquartered in
Through NWF’s Eco-Schools USA program, schools across the globe can network, share ideas, and discuss projects. Students can communicate on the Eco-Schools USA Facebook page where they can post photos of their projects and comment on environmental issues facing the globe.
Once a school registers, it works toward achieving one of three award levels: bronze, silver and Green Flag. Each school is required to establish an Eco-Schools
NWF was chosen as the
To learn more about Eco-Schools USA or to register as an Eco-School, go to www.nwf.org/ecoschools
Note to Press: Names of registered Eco-Schools and contact info for those schools can be provided by NWF.
Media Contact: Liz Soper, NWF Associate Director of Eco-Schools, 802-552-4328 or Laura Hickey, Senior Director, Global Warming Education, 703-438-6289
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