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26 VA Schools Taking “Green" Matters into Their Own Hands

November 29, 2010

RESTON, Va. - As kids head back to school this week after the holiday break, there are students at 26 schools around the Commonwealth taking "green" matters into their own hands. The program is called "Eco-Schools" and it's part of a world-wide initiative for school kids in K-12 to participate in reducing the carbon footprint at each school building.

In the U.S., the program is hosted by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). Kevin Coyle, NWF vice president for education and training, says it's easy for schools to sign up online. Once a school is registered, there are a variety of ways students, teachers and administrators decide to "green" their schools.

"One of the most popular ones is recycling. What the school will do is set up a new recycling program; they'll work to try to cut down on waste. Another really popular one is conserving energy; it's a way of the schools being able to save money very quickly and very directly."

Coyle says there have been a number of workshops in Northern Virginia, which is also where the NWF is headquartered, and a lot of schools in Fairfax County have been working to plant more gardens and greenery on school grounds. The program itself is free; however, there can be costs associated with various efforts. Coyle says many of the pupils raise money with community fundraisers and many area businesses donate items.

Coyle says the Eco-School program is good for the environment, and helps kids academically, especially with science and math, which he says is important today.

"More and more the economy is shifting toward a greater environmental focus. There are more jobs that people refer to as 'green' jobs, and Eco-Schools help kids get ready for that. They help kids to become more aware and actually just develop some skills to learn things like recycling or energy conservation."

There are currently 380 schools in 40 states that are registered with the program. Coyle says the NWF goal is to sign up 5,000 more schools in the next five years.

More information can be found online at:

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - VA