DEP Announces Winners at Third Annual Florida Green Schools Awards Ceremony and Banquet – Nov. 11, 2011

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Office of Environmental Education (OEE) recently announced the five state winners of the 2011 Florida Green School Awards. The Florida Green School Awards Program is a partnership between DEP, the Department of Education, Florida’s Foundation and the Sustainable Florida Program.

“I applaud the winners of the Florida Green School Awards and the many applicants who shared their innovative ideas of implementing efficient technologies and research to create a greener Florida,” said DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. “These creative and insightful projects will not only conserve and protect our natural resources, but have resulted in more than $10 million in combined cost-savings for Florida’s schools.”

The winners for the 2011 Florida Green Schools Awards were Greenclub students of Bessey Creek Elementary School; Deb Wagner’s class at St. Paul Lutheran School; Josh Clearman, a teacher at Key West High School; Learning Gate Community School in Lutz; and Pinellas County School District. The five winners received an award of $1,500. All finalists received an award of $250.

In addition, Pine Jog Elementary received the first-ever FPL Sustainable Legacy Circle Award in recognition of the school’s efforts to win under the same category two years in a row.

“Encouraging our students to participate in these green efforts not only benefits their schools but also conserves resources in our communities,” said Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson. “I commend the teachers, administrators and volunteers that provided this learning opportunity to enhance the educational experiences for our students.”

More than 42,000 students, teachers and administrators participated in this year’s green school initiatives, which generated $10.8 million in gross cost savings for Florida’s schools. Initiatives included green service learning projects, exemplary environmental education and teacher professional development projects, recycling programs and efforts to make school buildings and facilities more sustainable.

In early October, an expert panel of judges selected 16 finalists based on their green school initiatives that took place during the 2010-2011 school year. Participants could enter in one of five categories- students, classrooms, teachers, schools and school districts.

Florida Power and Light Company (FPL) is this year’s signature sponsor for the Florida Green School Network, which encompasses the Florida Green School Awards Program. Supporting sponsors include Agriculture in the Classroom, Comcast and Publix. The funding goes to Florida’s Foundation.

Developed as part of the 2008 Energy and Economic Development Legislation (HB7135), the Florida Green Schools Awards is an annual event that promotes and rewards conservation efforts by students, teachers and school administrators. Eligible projects demonstrate significant ways to save and conserve water, energy and reduce waste.

The finalists for the 2011 Florida Green Schools Awards included: Celeste Norup, Madeline Cowen and Larissa Weinstein, Monica Dyches, Deb Wagner’s class, Ray Cruze’s class, Peter Jordan’s class, Deborah Pate, Josh Clearman, Wendy Doromal, David Lawrence Jr. K-8 Center, Lawton Chiles Elementary School, Learning Gate Community School, Pine Jog Elementary School, Charlotte County School District, Duval County School District and Pinellas County School District.

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