Green Local Schools: Florida

The beautiful state of Florida is home to the country’s best green local schools. This post features five schools that received the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Award.

Green Local Schools in Florida

Florida is one of the country’s richest states with a diverse culture and heritage. Green local schools in this state carry out many programs that promote green living, health and wellness, and love for Mother Earth.

Let’s look at 5 green schools in this state:

 

Castle Creek Elementary School

This fairly large public school has an enrollment of 940 students. Within its suburban setting, Castle Creek helps students to be proactive and aware of their impact to their surroundings. The school has been named the #1 Green School in Orange County and the #1 Green Building in the state.

Why is this school green?

The school grounds are landscaped to be eco-friendly and drought tolerant. Students and teachers installed 10 rain barrels in front of the school and in the garden areas. These rain barrels allow water to be used in landscaped areas that are not drought resistant.

Teachers use natural lighting in classrooms during the day. The school’s north and west areas are wooded areas with a large pond. This allows students to learn more about nature and observe many types of fauna like birds, deer, and rabbits.

Castle Creek adopts the OCPS Green School Initiative into all state learning standards in its classes. Green topics are entered into lessons, learning events and field trips. This is one of the green local schools that teach students to solve problems about energy, natural resources, and protection of surroundings.

The school is a Title 1 school, and about 78% of students qualify for the federal free/reduced meal program. The school adheres to the federal food and nutrition plan and provides breakfast, lunch, and dinner to students.

Address: 1245 N. Avalon Park Blvd. Orlando, FL 32810

Phone: (407) 207-7428, ext. 4162222

Website: http://www.castlecreek.ocps.net

Surfside Elementary School

Surfside Elementary is a small beachside school with unique outdoor learning spaces and creative green learning programs. It also plays an active role in its district. With its organic school gardens, school-wide incubation and farm animal husbandry, it provides a very good model for saving the planet.

Why is this school green?

Surfside is focused on decreasing its impact. About 15% of its solid waste is diverted from landfills and recycled into compacting dumpsters. Students use food scraps to feed chickens, geese and turkeys. The manure is then used to fertilize the garden plants and fruit trees.

Like other green local schools, Surfside makes efforts to ensure a safe and healthy campus. At present, the entire school is organic and pesticide-free, and all cleaning products are green-certified.

Each classroom has large windows and doors that open to the outside. These settings provide fresh air and natural light. The school’s open campus ensures that each classroom and learning area has views of the sky, trees, flowers and colorful butterflies.

Surfside is just one mile from both the Indian River Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean. The surroundings help students adopt a role in protecting the water and the planet. A Marine Science Agent conducts workshops with the students so they can learn more about their roles as stewards of the waterways.

Address: 475 Cassia Boulevard, Satellite Beach, FL 32937

Phone: (321) 773-2818

Website: http://www.edline.net/pages/Surfside_Elementary_School/

 

Wilton Manors Elementary School 

This school is wholly committed to green learning through its unified IB program. Wilton Manors has eco-friendly school grounds and employs a unique approach to green living. Green topics are researched and taught to inspire students to relate with nature.

Why is this school green? 

Wilton Manors is committed to reducing its impact and saving resources. There was a massive overhaul of the courtyard space to remove grass and replant native plants. Ground cover was installed to lower the school’s water usage.

The school also staggered dismissal times and rerouted traffic to lessen harmful gases from vehicle idling. School buses remain parked with engines off until the parents pick up their students. Because of these efforts, Wilton Manors became the first school in their district to win the P3 Eco Challenge award. 

The school is focused on healthy living. Students are urged to make good choices for their wellness. Teachers lead their students in exercise and often engage them in active learning. Tending the gardens helps students learn about planting, and how homegrown foods can provide good nutrition.

Through their lB program, Wilton Manors creates a rich and unique way for students to ignite their passion and take an active role in protecting and caring for our planet.

Address: 2401 NE 3rd Avenue, Wilton Manors, FL 33304

Phone: (754) 322-8950

Website: www.wiltonmanorselementary.com

Air Base K-8 Center 

This school has earned the state’s Green School Award along with other national and local awards. It provides a unique, hands-on green learning experience to its students. Air Base K-8 Center also trains students to address real-world problems related to climate change and rising CO2 levels. It’s the only school in their district that was chosen to present at the Recycling Energy Forum.

Why is this school green? 

The school is focused on recycling. Students and staff recycle plastic bottles and aluminum cans through the Pepsico Recycle Rally. They also collect and recycle old computers and gadgets, printer ink, juice pouches, cartons and paper/cardboard. The recycled objects are used in a creative way in classes.

Air Base K-8 Center believes that healthy food means a healthy school family. Organic gardens are maintained by the students, teachers and parent volunteers. Growing organic food inspires people to lead a more viable way of life.

STEM concepts are part of their Science program, which puts emphasis on saving Earth’s resources and reducing impact. Critical thinking classes explore other sources of power, like solar and wind energy. 

Address: 12829 S.W. 272 Street, Homestead, FL 33032

Phone: (305) 258-3676

Website: https://www.airbasek8.net/

 

Duval County Public Schools

This notable school serves 40 percent or more students from disadvantaged households. It reduces its impact and costs through effective energy saving, recycling and transport policies. DCPS improves student and staff health by providing safe surroundings and a learning culture that promotes a healthy lifestyle. The school is also a champion of green learning through its extensive STEM-based program.

Why is this school green? 

DCPS reduces greenhouse gases through non-idling policies for buses, bike racks and reserved parking spots for fuel-efficient vehicles. The school outsources bussing and ensures that bus companies comply with Board policy that limits idling to 5 minutes.

The school has many tactics to save water. These include native landscapes, use of rain barrels or cisterns, low-flow toilets and routine checking of the water system. Through these efforts, DCPS has greatly reduced its water costs over the last few years.

DCPS partners with Chartwells to provide healthy meals to all students. It has a Farm to School program that allows students to learn about the process from planting to harvest. This also allows them to experience new, healthy foods and learn ways to shop, prepare and cook these types of food.

The school’s learning programs help students to become better stewards of Earth’s resources and live in viable ways. The programs inspire kids to reduce, reuse, recycle, turn off lights and not waste water and realize how their actions affect Mother Earth.

Address: 1701 Prudential Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32207

Phone: (904) 390-2115

Website: www.duvalschools.org