The Jefferson School and the Caesar Rodney School District were recgnized as 2019 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools at a May 29 ceremony in Dover. Gov. John Carney lauded students for embracing global environmental concepts and applying them locally. “There’s nothing more local than our schools,” he said.
The Jefferson School is Sussex County’s first school to earn national honors. At the private Georgetown school, educators incorporate the school’s 43 acres of ponds, trails with fitness stations, an outdoor classroom, pollinator and vegetable gardens, greenhouse, goats, chickens, beehives and purple martin nest houses into the curriculum.
Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Shawn M. Garvin said students educate parents, friends and neighbors about environmental issues. “These children aren’t future environmental leaders, they’re current environmental leaders who push us to take care of our planet,” he said.
The entire Caesar Rodney School District earned national recognition. Each of the district’s 12 schools has a student-led EcoTeam that helps implement initiatives to reduce waste and create community gardens, rain gardens and compost centers.
Delaware Secretary of Education Susan Bunting said those initiatives are great examples of how critical thinking skills can be used to solve problems. “The Caesar Rodney School District and the Jefferson School exemplify how our schools can reduce their environmental impact, save resources, improve the health and wellness of their communities, and provide students with hands-on, engaging learning,” Bunting said.
Honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 28 states. Nationwide, 35 schools, 14 districts and four post-secondary institutions were honored for innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure sustainability education.