The Center for Green Schools at USGBC is excited to partner again with Green Schools National Network to co-present the Best of Green Schools and the Green Apple awards of 2021. Although 2020 was full of unexpected setbacks and shifts in expectations, green school leaders continuously worked to advance sustainability and help their community members.
The Best of Green Schools Awards celebrate the leaders—individuals, schools, campuses, and organizations—advancing our shared vision of green schools. Likewise, the Green Apple Awards honor the specific efforts or projects that have supported the local community through sustainability. If you or someone you know made significant strides in 2020 toward creating more sustainable schools and communities, we want to hear from you.
The call for nominations opens today and closes at 11:59 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 7. You are welcome to submit nominations for yourself and/or for others.
Winners will be announced and awarded in seven categories at the virtual 2021 Green Schools Conference, which will be hosted in June. The virtual nature of this year’s annual gathering of leaders and innovators in the green schools movement will allow a broader range of people to attend, including our international partners. The event is an exciting moment to celebrate the leadership embodied by awardees.
After you submit your nomination, register to attend the conference so you can watch (or receive!) the awards during the live virtual event.
Best of Green Schools Awards categories and criteria
For the first four award categories, three finalists will be announced on April 29 and then promoted May 3–14; the winner of each category will be awarded during the virtual conference.
- K–12 School Award: Recognizing schools that, while under the constraints of the 2020 pandemic, have consistently modeled exemplary green school practices and shared what they have learned with external communities.
- School System Award: Recognizing school systems and districts that have created long-term partnerships, have demonstrated a commitment to systemic change, and shared best practices with external communities, all while under the constraints of the 2020 pandemic.
- Student Leader Award: Recognizing K–12 students who have demonstrated exemplary efforts in promoting sustainability and climate-related action in their schools and communities, particularly while under the constraints of the 2020 pandemic.
- Educator Award: Recognizing K–12 educators who, particularly while under the constrains of the 2020 pandemic, have demonstrated a commitment to imparting sustainability knowledge, skills and values to their students.
Advocate Award: Recognizing individuals who have demonstrated exemplary efforts in promoting green schools at the local, state or federal level through policy, community engagement programs or other work in the K–12 school setting.
Michelle Curreri Collaborator Award: Recognizing organizations and governmental agencies that have made substantial contributions in advancing the green schools movement. This award is presented in memory of a beloved friend and colleague from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Indoor Environments Division, Michele Curreri. With this award, we commemorate her lifelong dedication to promoting healthy school environments through collaboration.
Business Leader Award: Recognizing private sector organizations and individuals who have made substantial contributions in advancing the green schools movement.
Green Apple Awards categories and criteria
The Green Apple Awards this year recognize sustainability initiatives or projects that made an impact within the school community during the 2020 calendar year. Efforts may have made an impact through the engagement of students and their families, through direct improvements of the school environment, through service to the community or by other means. This year, registration of the project on greenapple.org is encouraged to provide more information on the project’s impact, but is not required to receive an award.
For all three award categories, three finalists will be announced on April 29 and then promoted May 3–14; the winner of each category will be awarded during the virtual conference.
- Deep Impact: Recognizing projects that demonstrate a depth of impact on a school community’s sustainability efforts, particularly within the constraints of the pandemic. The impact may be on students, the surrounding community, buildings or the natural environment as demonstrated by data, and more.
- Broad Engagement: Recognizing projects that demonstrate broad engagement in a school community’s sustainability efforts despite the constraints of the pandemic. Projects may engage students, families, the surrounding community or the wider public.
- Creative Approach: Recognizing projects that have taken a particularly creative or entrepreneurial approach to a school community’s sustainability efforts despite the constrains of the pandemic.