BLACKWOOD, NJ— National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Education Director Louisa Koch, Director of the Campaign for Environmental Literacy James L. Elder, and Director of the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council Anisa Heming joined Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Frank Brogan yesterday to congratulate Highland Regional High School in Blackwood, NJ on their achievements at a ceremony at the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C.

Highland Regional High School was nominated by New Jersey Audubon for energy conservation initiatives throughout the high school of about 1,300 students in grades nine through 12. The goal has been to reduce the school’s carbon footprint, such as converting lights into LED, updating water fountains to encourage reusable water bottles and constructing rain gardens.

“We are absolutely thrilled to become a Green Ribbon school,” said Jennifer Gramble, district supervisor of science, as she was preparing on embark on an Amtrak train in Wilmington, Delaware to attend the ceremony in Washington, D.C. “We could not have done this without such outstanding students who recognize the critical importance of being environmentally friendly.  We have a very active Green Team of staff and students, with the students doing the majority of the work throughout the year.”

At the event, 46 schools and six districts were honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education. In addition, six colleges and universities were honored with the Postsecondary Sustainability Award. Representatives from honored schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions received sustainably crafted plaques in recognition of their achievements.

The honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 25 states and the Department of Defense Department of Education Activity. The selectees include 40 public schools, including two magnet schools and two charter schools, as well as six nonpublic schools. Forty-five percent of the 2018 honorees serve a disadvantaged student body.

View the list of all selected schools and districts and summaries of each of the 58 honorees.  More information on the federal recognition award can be found here. Resources for all schools to meet the criteria for the award can be found here.