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Schuylerville Elementary School gains national recognition as Green Ribbon School

Students celebrate after learning that Schuylerville Elementary School was named a 2016 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School award honoree.
Students celebrate after watching the live announcement.

On Earth Day, April 22, Managing Director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality Christy Goldfuss joined U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr. to announce that Schuylerville Elementary School is among the 2016 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award honorees. Students gathered in the high school auditorium to watch the live announcement from Washington D.C.

“We are very proud to be named a Green Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education,” said Principal Gregg Barthelmas. “This is a very exciting announcement for our school and represents the culmination of many years of dedication to green and sustainability initiatives by students, staff, parents, and community partners.”

Only 46 other schools across the country received the distinction. Schools were chosen for their efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education.

The Green Ribbon School project began in Schuylerville in 2011, when parent and Hudson Crossing Park board member Cindy Wian proposed the program as a way to promote the park’s environmental mission in partnership with the school community.

“Students who are inspired to care about their environment, whether it is a playground, a garden, or the recyclable items at the bottom of their locker, will be the leaders and problem solvers who ensure we have clean air, clean water, and fertile soil for generations to come,” Wian said.

To date, more than 50 projects and programs have been implemented as part of the Green Ribbon School group’s efforts, many integrating multiple GRS cornerstones or pillars, spanning school years, and sending ripples across the district and community.

The GRS group’s most recent efforts include a composting initiative at the elementary and middle school, which will help reduce cafeteria waste. The group estimates that the new system will keep 162,000 milk cartons, 15,000 pounds of liquid waste and 51,000 pounds of food waste out of the landfill.

Schuylerville Elementary School will be formally recognized at an awards ceremony on Wednesday, July 20 in Washington D.C.

Watch the video below to see students celebrating the live announcement.