The Florida Green School Network acts as a central clearinghouse for the green school movement in the state of Florida. It was designed to recognize and support green school initiatives at the school and school district level and to aid them in adopting practices that will conserve natural resources, promote sustainability and reduce operating costs.
The Network was established in 2011 with support from Florida Power and Light. It is a partnership between the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Florida Department of Education, Florida’s Foundation, Sustainable Florida and the Florida Department of Health.
In 2010-2011, more than 42,000 students, teachers and administrators participated in green school initiatives in both private and public schools alike. Many projects included recycling programs, green service learning projects, environmental education, teacher professional development projects and efforts to make school buildings and facilities more sustainable.
Many times, these projects go unnoticed; so to recognize such environmental stewardship, DEP’s Office of Environmental Education began the Florida Green School Awards program. The Florida Green School Awards program has recognized exemplary green school initiatives by students, classes, teachers, and school/district administrators since the 2008-2009 school year. In the 2010-2011 school year alone, award applicants generated over $10.8 million in gross cost savings.
This year the Network is supporting the launch of the national Green Ribbon Schools Program led by the US Department of Education. Each state may nominate up to four schools that have demonstrated significant progress in achieving success in the programs three pillars: 1) environmental impact and energy efficiency, 2) healthy school environments, and 3) environmental and sustainability education.
Also in 2012, the Florida Green School Network will revise and reproduce the Florida Green School Guide in collaboration with Dream in Green for seventh graders in Miami-Dade County Public Schools. The guide will feature local green school case studies and resources and include a companion online teacher’s guide.