Michigan Green Schools Program encourages schools to go “green”

Michigan Green Schools Program teaches the next generation environmental lessons in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties.

The Michigan Green Schools Initiative is a statewide program that encourages teachers in K-12 public and private schools to participate in environmentally-friendly activities with their students. The Michigan State Legislature passed the MI Green Schools law in 2006 to provide structure and incentives to school administrators, teachers, parents and students to improve their environmental practices. Yearly statewide competition results in Green School designations for schools that earn enough points by using fewer natural resources, providing educational outreach and presentations and saving scarce school operating funds.

Michigan State University Extension educators in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties provided training and resources to more than 250 teachers and parent volunteers on the topics of water, community food systems, energy and school gardening. Teachers received hands-on activities, curriculum and resources that could be taught in their classrooms. Possible activities that could be used to earn points included coordinating a school-wide recycling program or waste-free lunch program, implementing a school-wide energy saving program, participating in activities that promote the health of the Great Lakes watershed such as a local watershed festival or Earth Day event and create a pollinator or vegetable garden and tasting local foods.

The in-service day was organized and coordinated by Green School Coordinators in each intermediate school district and their partners in local government. In Macomb County, Patti Dibb, Macomb County Green Schools coordinator, modified the points earned system by adding purchasing locally grown food from local farms for classroom tasting or participating in farm field trips to add some new challenges for schools. To check out how to earn points, go to the Macomb County Green Schools page. Schools are recognized for their Green Schools Efforts and awarded certificates by the County Board of Commissioners at celebration events in the spring.

Southeast Michigan teachers left the workshops knowing more about resources and curriculum tied to Green Schools activities and how to earn points for their school. To learn how your school can become a green school visit the Michigan Green Schools website in your county.

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