At Evergreen Community Charter School, we believe that providing a strong connection with the Natural World is essential to the development of heart, mind and body of our students. Because of our commitment to Environmental Education across the curriculum, we are able to provide opportunities for all of our students to demonstrate an understanding of ecology and environmental stewardship as well as develop a sense of respect, joy and wonder for the Natural World.
Evergreen Community Charter School is one of two schools in North Carolina and one of 78 schools nationwide to receive the inaugural U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools Award, which recognizes the highest performing green schools in the nation. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, together with White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, made the announcement.
Our comprehensive approach incorporates and integrates environmental learning with maximizing positive environmental and health impacts. The three pillars of environmental stewardship are: Environmental and Sustainability Education, Health and Wellness, and Environmental Impact.
Environmental and Sustainability Education
Goals for achieving effective environmental and sustainability education:
- Interdisciplinary learning about the key relationships between dynamic environmental, energy and human systems;
- Use of the environment and sustainability to develop STEM content knowledge and thinking skills to prepare graduates for the 21st century technology-driven economy; and
- Development of civic engagement knowledge and skills, and students' application of these to address sustainability and environmental issues in their community.
Methods for achieving effective environmental and sustainability education:
- EL Education
- Critical thinking
- EE woven throughout curriculum
- Crosswalk NAAEE guidelines and state standards
- LEADER program
- Awareness to Understanding to Action
Health and Wellness
Goals for improving health and wellness:
- An integrated school environmental health program based on an operations and facility-wide environmental management system that considers student, visitor and staff health and safety in all practices related to design, construction, renovation, operations, and maintenance of schools and grounds; and
- High standards of nutrition, fitness, and quantity of quality outdoor time for both students and staff.
Methods for achieving health and wellness:
- IAQ Purchasing policy;
- Waste free lunches;
- Community garden;
- Vending machines with organic snacks;
- Adventure P.E. (Ski/snowboard club, rock climbing);
- Succession of end-of-year adventure trips;
- Exercise breaks;
- Outdoor classrooms;
- EL Trail
- Abundant outdoor fieldwork.
Goals for reducing environmental impact and costs:
- Reduced or eliminated greenhouse gas emissions, using an energy audit or emissions inventory and reduction plan, cost-effective energy efficiency improvements, conservation measures, and/or on-site renewable energy and/or purchase of green power;
- Improved water quality, efficiency, and conservation;
- Reduced solid and hazardous waste production through increased recycling, reduced consumption, and improved management, reduction, or elimination of hazardous waste; and
- Expanded use of alternative transportation, through active promotion of locally-available, energy-efficient options and implementation of alternative transportation supportive projects and policies.
Methods for decreasing environmental impact:
- Straw bale and cob playhouse;
- Bathroom remodeling;
- Window replacement project;
- Photovoltaic panels;
- Lighting replacement;
- Energy audit;
- Biodiesel busses;
- Woods Play policy;
- Green Team;
- Master plan.