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News Release - Colorado elementary school earns national Green Ribbon Schools Award

May 5, 2017

Colorado elementary school earns national Green Ribbon Schools Award

DENVER – Sedalia Elementary School in Douglas County was among 45 schools throughout the nation to be awarded the 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Award, which celebrates schools' innovative efforts to reduce their environmental impact, improve the health and wellness of their students and ensure an effective sustainability education.

Sedalia Elementary School was chosen from a pool of candidates nominated from 28 states and the Department Defense's Department of Education Activity. Also awarded was Colorado Mountain College based in Glennwood Springs, which was chosen as one of nine institutions of higher learning. 

"It is a high honor for Sedalia Elementary School, which is providing students lifelong lessons about their impact on the environment," said Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes. "I am particularly impressed with how much of the school's efforts were student led, giving the children a real understanding of the impact of their decisions."

Sedalia Elementary School 
The rural Title I school was awarded for its efforts to reduce environmental impacts and costs, health and wellness curriculum and effective environmental and sustainable education. Read its application here (PDF)
Some highlights from the application:

  • The school has an effective recycling program; food waste is diverted to chicken coops, composting and vericomposting, leading to a 70 percent recycling rate.
  • The student-led garden team grows vegetables, herbs and fruit trees, using hugelkultur (raised-bed) gardening, which uses a limited amount of water.
  • Despite being an older facility, the school managed to cut its energy use by 6 percent, largely through student-initiated efforts.

Colorado Mountain College (CMC)
This comprehensive local district junior college with 11 instructional sites has pledged to reduce its carbon footprint, integrate sustainability in institutional operations and teach its students and community stakeholders about the changing surrounding natural environment. Read its application here (PDF).

Some highlights from the application:

  • Between 2009 to 2015 CMC has invested approximately $3.2 million in building improvements to improve energy efficiency across all of our campuses, including installing LED lights, reducing its institutional energy use by 13 percent and installing solar farms.
  • CMC has set a goal for carbon-neutrality by 2050.
  • CMC has undertaken several initiatives since 2009 to mitigate its water usage and demand, including xeriscaping, installing low-flow toilets and other utility upgrades.

Read about all of the selected schools, districts, colleges and universities, as well as their nomination packages.

Read a report with highlights on the 63 national honorees.

More information on the federal recognition award can be found here.

Read about resources for all schools to move toward the three Pillars.

For more information, contact the U.S. Department of Education's press office at 202-401-1576 or