DATE: April, 27, 2015
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
Crozet Elementary School Joins a Select Group of High Achievers Across the Country Recognized for Environmental Excellence
(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – Crozet Elementary has been named a Green Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education, one of four K-12 schools in the Commonwealth to earn that designation this year.
Crozet Elementary Composting Setup
Farm to School Week Menu Items
Rain Garden Ribbon Ceremony
Rain Garden Ribbon Ceremony
Walk/Bike to School Event
The department describes the purpose of the program as inspiring schools to strive for 21st century excellence. Specifically, schools are selected by demonstrating they have reduced their impact on the environment and on energy costs; improved the health and wellness of schools, students and staff; and furthered environmental education, especially through the incorporation of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills. Nationwide, Crozet is one of 58 schools and universities to be selected as a Green Ribbon School this year out of more than 135,000 schools and universities in the United States.
Among the highlights of Crozet’s environmental program is an outdoor living science classroom that includes a biofilter converted into a Rain Garden Habitat. The area consists of a weather station, nature trail, butterfly and student gardens, a natural amphitheater and courtyard, and bird feeders. Teachers use these resources to teach students about weather patterns, ecosystems, plants and animals native to Virginia, and they use vegetables from the garden in an after-school program.
The combination of a commercial composting program, mixed waste recovery, and cardboard separation helped the school achieve a recycling rate approximating 36 percent. Crozet has avoided $25,000 in annual utility costs through its energy conservation program, and it is saving $6,000 per year by avoiding landfill disposal expenses.
“This is a wonderful accomplishment by the Crozet school community on many measures,” said Dr. Matt Haas, the school division’s Assistant Superintendent. “To be recognized as a national leader among all schools throughout the U.S. is impressive to be sure. Even more valuable is the way in which Crozet is engaging their students, delivering a deeper level of learning about the world around them, and providing them with an appreciation for health and efficiency that will last a lifetime,” Haas said.
In its announcement of the award, the federal Department of Education said that Crozet is to be commended for its leadership in environmental stewardship, health and sustainability, and for inspiring the entire school community to aim high.
Crozet’s Principal, Gwedette Crummie, will be in Washington, D.C., on June 3 to join the representatives of other Green Ribbon Schools across the country in a nationwide celebration. “It’s quite an honor to accept this award on behalf of so many wonderfully talented and dedicated teachers, staff, parents and students,” Ms. Crummie said. “It is their energy and creativity that has produced so much excitement around learning.”
Crozet is the second Albemarle County public school to earn Green Ribbon status. Stony Point Elementary School was recognized in 2012. The division also placed first in the Virginia School Board’s Green Schools Challenge in 2014, and 23 of the division’s 25 school facilities have attained ENERGY STAR certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.