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Growing minds with Green Apple Day of Service 2016

Published on 8 Aug 2016 Written by Amanda Sawit Posted in Center for Green Schools

 Green Apple Day of Service is a chance to teach sustainability in a fun way.

On Green Apple Day of Service, you can make an impact right inside the classroom. Advancing a culture of sustainability within schools means ensuring that students of all ages can acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors that prepare them to lead and succeed in green 21st century careers.

Join us for Green Apple Day of Service 2016 and together, we’ll plant the seeds of wonder, understanding and stewardship for a more sustainable future. Here are some ideas and resources to get you started! 

Learning Lab

USGBC’s Learning Lab has fantastic online resources to help K–12 educators and their students easily implement Green Apple projects. More than 300 project-based lessons in English and Spanish just sign up for your account, and enjoy the easy-to-follow, sustainability-infused curriculum on Learning Lab.

Fun Food Connections

You can plant a school vegetable garden to help students understand where food comes from, or engage students in preparing fresh meals or snacks that they can enjoy on the spot. Food is a great way to connect with a wide audience and talk about sustainability issues spanning topics such as social justice, economics, agriculture, operations and health. Remember to track your efforts in increased servings of fruits, vegetables and whole grains eaten by students or in decreased grams of sugars served or consumed on campus.

Dynamic Visuals

Signs and murals allow a school to show its commitment to healthy and sustainable learning environments. Great signage can teach students and the rest of the community about the green (or could-be-greener) features of classrooms, bathrooms, cafeterias and hallways. A mural is a large-scale way to remind visitors and the school community about the school’s values. Students can lend their creativity to the effort, and it’s a great way to bring the arts into your sustainability efforts.

And don’t forget to measure your impact! Keep track of the number of minutes allocated to environmental and sustainability concepts in class, or engage students through written work, art projects or even a fun post-event survey.


Green Apple Day energy savings pledges

Published on 29 Oct 2015Written by Tony Sparks Posted in Center for Green Schools

Students from the Del Norte High School’s Earth Club in Albuquerque, New Mexico, participated in this year’s Green Apple Day of Service. The DNHS Earth Club, sponsored by biology teacher Jim Butscher, partnered with the state Energy Conservation & Management Division of the Minerals & Natural Resources Department at their display at the opening weekend of the 2015 New Mexico State Fair.

The students had hundreds of fair-goers sign Energy Pledges asking for a commitment to reduce their energy use, and they demonstrated an energy bicycle that produced electricity through pedaling. The bike created energy that provided electricity to light a box comparing incandescent, CFL, and LED light bulbs. This demonstrated kinetically that LED light bulbs are a good choice to reduce energy costs. 

This experience not only provided an opportunity for these students to share their knowledge of energy conservation and efficiency, but it also developed their public speaking and leadership skills while supporting the District’s Water and Energy Conservation Program. The Earth Club has been conducting a lighting audit of their school, as well as designing a butterfly garden that will be planted in the fall.

The Albuquerque Public Schools Water and Energy Conservation program is looking for schools, teachers and students to organize Energy Teams. For more information, email Robert Lazar.

Tony Sparks

Staff Project Manager – Mechanical Systems APS-Facilities Design & Construction

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Energy Focus brings a new light to schools through Green Apple partnership

Published on 15 Sep 2015Written by Joshua Lasky Posted in Center for Green Schools

USGBC welcomes Energy Focus as the newest Green Apple Partner. Energy Focus, a leading provider of energy efficient LED lighting products and technology, is committed to transforming the places where our students learn.

“We believe that making our schools healthier and more efficient is more than just an opportunity—it’s a responsibility,” said Eric Hilliard, President and Chief Operating Officer of Energy Focus. “Our team is excited to actively support the incredible work of the Center for Green Schools to provide green schools for all students within this generation.” As part of their commitment to the partnership, Energy Focus will donate 2.5 cents for every tubular LED product sold, which will carry the Green Apple mark, to support the work of the Center for Green Schools to create healthier, safer, more sustainable learning environments.

Hitting the ground running as a Green Apple Partner, Energy Focus has set an ambitious goal for Green Apple Day of Service. The company’s passion for better lighting in schools led them to create the “Change a Light, Change a Life” initiative, through which Energy Focus will donate, free of charge, LED lighting for 50 special needs classrooms in 50 schools across the metro New York City and tri-state area. In addition to transforming learning environments, Energy Focus hopes to increase education about the role that lighting can play improving health and well-being for students and teachers.

Energy Focus brings longstanding commitments to sustainability along with a history of high-impact partnerships, having created energy efficient LED lighting systems for the U.S. Navy fleet.

Joshua Lasky


Commitment to Quality

Published on 4 Aug 2015Written by Kiley Jacques Posted in Community

Mexico City’s Instituto Thomas Jefferson looks for ways to make its sustainability efforts as impactful as possible.

For 37 years, the Instituto Thomas Jefferson (ITJ) has been a forerunner for social emotional learning, project-based education, and student-powered innovation. Today, its mission is campus-wide sustainability on all fronts—from LEED-certified buildings to Green Apple Day of Service (GADOS) projects to the environmentally focused K-12 curricula.

ITJ—a network of schools based in Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Queretaro—is committed to “whole school sustainability,” which is built on a framework that looks at organizational culture, physical place, and educational programming. “ITJ is not a common school,” notes Organizational Culture Leader Monica Bleiberg, whose role it is to connect the ITJ community through initiatives that build a sustainability culture. “We enrich our educational model with innovative projects all the time so our teachers and students are used to new challenges,” she explains. “When we decided to embrace the whole school sustainability framework, Green Apple Day of Service became the perfect way to motivate teachers and students to commit to sustainable initiatives.”

GADOS is a global initiative developed by the USGBC that encourages educators and students to rethink their schools—participants have multiple and varied opportunities to redesign and transform their surroundings to make them more sustainable. Past projects have included removing toxic materials from school grounds, performing sustainability assessments, hosting open houses at green schools, and creating signage to encourage conscientious behavior. ITJ has set the goal of 1,000 GADOS projects this year. Bleiberg admits the figure is a challenging one, but believes it is achievable.

Kiley Jacques

Managing Editor/Freelance Writer


Green Apple Day of Service buzz: Bee hotels in Kansas

Published on 29 Jul 2015Written by Liz Mayes Posted in Center for Green Schools

Green Apple Day of Service project from earlier this year has already gained national attention from the likes of the Washington Post and LA’s National Public Radio for its approach to solving the rapid decline in native bee populations.

Staff at PROSOCO, led by sustainability and environment manager Kay Johnson, partnered with a team of architects at Clark | Huesemann, and researchers from the University of Kansas Biological Survey to combat one of the biggest culprits of native bee loss: loss of habitable space. Unlike honeybees, native bees live in solitude, and normally nest in places like dead logs with beetle holes or hollow plant stems.

A rapid decrease in bee population has garnered recent attention because of the vital role bees play in the food chain. These bees are responsible for pollinating some of our most common fruits and vegetables: apples, peaches, cherries, strawberries, onions, green beans, tomatoes and more. Without native bees, much of the livestock that humans eat would be unable to survive.

For this year’s Green Apple Day of Service, volunteers constructed bee hotels to mimic the naturally occurring tunnels used by bees to lay eggs and nest. Working together with a local Girl Scout troop, they created thousands of tunnels using bamboo, paper, and wood—enough space for a total of about 3,000 bees at a time.

PROSOCO, which produces energy-efficient, minimum-impact products for the construction industry, contributed some of its own building materials to the project. Johnson explained that the bee hotel project was important to the company because of their commitment to sustainability and corporate social responsibility. “We hope to inspire other companies to build their own bee hotels for their local bees,” she said. On how other companies can get involved in the Day of Service, Johnson suggests, “finding what sustainability commitment and corporate responsibility initiative makes the most sense for your company and act on it. Then, tell people about it so they can learn from and be encouraged by your leadership. Every company should have a bee hotel story.”

Bee hotels are not a new idea, but are only recently gaining popularity as an innovative tool to combat the decline in bee population. “Especially in Europe, some of these have been around hundreds of years. So we should have been paying attention,” Johnson points out.

Those who are interested in constructing their own bee hotels can follow an easy set of instructions provided by the National Geographic, or see the group’s bee hotel instructions. Bee hotels are a great way to engage students with the ecosystem that exists right in the schoolyard. Consider this or a whole colony of ideas for Green Apple Day of Service by visiting


An update from Georgia: Cheers for green schools

Published on 10 Feb 2015Written by Suzanne Haerther Posted in Center for Green Schools

The USGBC Georgia Chapter is excited about the turnout and feedback from the Second Annual High Performance Healthy Schools Recognition Day at the State Capitol on Feb. 5, 2015.

The event brought out over 180 people interested in the schools in Georgia. They were district personnel, principals, teachers, and students, as well as legislators. Senator Margaret Kaiser presented two resolutions that had been approved by the Georgia House of Representatives. Senator Nan Orrock presented a resolution that had been approved by the Georgia Senate and a proclamation from Governor Nathan Deal was also presented.

Schools across the state of Georgia are doing great things to provide healthy learning environments and more efficient schools. This year, both leaders and projects were recognized, and over 50 awards were given out to schools, districts and organizations throughout Georgia that have made a commitment to sustainability in 2014.

Awards were given out for participation in the Green Apple Day of Service, Green YOUR School Competition, LEED certification, and the Princeton Review of Green Colleges. Additionally, several organizations were recognized for partnering with the chapter to help promote these programs and the health of our schools. The program included presentations from several of the schools and a chance for the attendees to meet each other.

 Suzanne Haerther

USGBC – Georgia Chapter

LEED Certification

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is a non profit organization that certifies sustainable businesses, homes, hospitals, schools, and neighborhoods. USGBC is dedicated to expanding green building practices and education, and its LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System™.

Chemline, Inc. is a member of The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and has the potential to provide LEED points.