DEP Announces Fifth Annual Florida Green School Award Winners

 winners

The Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Environmental Education hosted a celebration Tuesday to recognize the finalists of the Green School Awards. The winners for the statewide competition in each of the five categories were announced during the event. 

 The winners of this year’s Florida Green School Awards are:

  • Erin Donahue of Saint Joseph’s Episcopal School in Palm Beach County
  • The Service Learning Council of Timber Creek High School in Orange County
  • Sharon Cutler of Lawton Chiles Elementary in Hillsborough County
  • Audubon Elementary School in Brevard County
  • The P3 Team of Broward County Public Schools

 Each of the five winners received a cash prize of $500, and the other ten finalists received an award of $200. A list of finalists can be found here.

 The total cost savings by the applicants for the 2012-2013 awards eclipsed $30 million. This surpassed the previous year’s $20 million in gross cost savings, which was a record achievement. Since 2009, participants in the Florida Green Schools program have saved more than $66 million through green school initiatives.

 “The most impressive aspect of the Florida Green Schools program is that the $30 million in cost savings was generated by a handful of projects,” said Greg Ira, Director of the Department’s Office of Environmental Education. “The potential is so much greater than what we’re seeing in 2013; we’ve only scratched the surface of what can be generated statewide.”

 The Florida Green School Awards has become part of a larger network called the Florida Green School Network; a partnership between the Department, Department of Education, Department of Health including the Florida Pioneering Healthier Communities group and Sustainable Florida. Since the establishment of the Green School Network in 2011, nearly 110,000 students, teachers and administrators have participated in green school initiatives. Some of the initiatives included are energy conservation programs, recycling programs, green service learning projects, environmental education projects, teacher professional development project and sustainability projects in buildings and facilities.

 The Green School Awards started in 2009 when the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Florida Department of Education and a host of community partners recognized students, teachers, classes, schools and school districts for their environmental achievements. This year, a representative from each of the partnering agencies presented an award to participants in front of more than 70 attendees. The awards are presented to participants whose outstanding efforts demonstrate success in programs that enhance the quality of education, while preserving the environment.

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