From its humble beginnings over six years ago, the Green Schools Conference and Expo has grown and evolved into one of the most transformative events I have ever been a part of. Yet, some things have remained the same: the energy and enthusiasm of the participants, the learning and sharing of stories, and the collective desire to make our schools green, healthy, and sustainable environments for the next generation of sustainability natives and leaders.
On March 29th and 30th, a number of you will be traveling to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to reconnect with your colleagues: fellow teachers, school leaders, and green schools champions. This is the reason I like to call the conference our “tribal gathering.” It allows us the space and the time to come together and celebrate the important, cutting edge work you are doing to transform our schools and K-12 education. I truly believe that the green schools movement is one of the most important education reform movements of our time. And you are all playing a part in making it happen.
2016 is a year of several firsts for the Green Schools Conference and Expo. It marks the first year that the Green Schools National Network is co-hosting the conference with the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council. It is also the first year that we will be honoring green schools exemplars and champions by handing out awards for the Best of Green Schools 2016. I cannot think of a better setting to announce this year’s “Best Of” than buy ambien canada pharmacy this “tribal” gathering of the leaders and innovators in the green schools movement.
This month’s GreenNotes gives you a sneak peek at some of the programming and speakers we have lined up for the conference. Greg Christian, one of our master speakers and founder of Beyond Green Sustainable Food Partners, shares his strategy for adopting sustainable school food systems. Jenna Cramer, Vice President of the Green Building Alliance (GBA) in Pittsburgh, introduces us to the GBA’s Sustainable School Culture Program, a topic that will be further explored at a pre-conference workshop and conference breakout session. Joel Tolman from Common Ground and Mandy Breuer from Environmental Charter High School share their experiences as regional catalyst schools and building green school hubs, giving you a preview of what to expect at their conference breakout session. Additional stories include introductions to the Solution Summits and the Student Summit; an article about the School District of Philadelphia’s first ever sustainability plan, GreenFutures; a story about two siblings who started their own nonprofit and developed a classroom curriculum to teach students about plastic pollution in our oceans; and a research article that discusses work that is underway in understanding how sustainable school renovations can impact student performance.
I hope this edition of the newsletter gets you excited for the gathering of thought leaders and green school champions that awaits you in Pittsburgh. I look forward to reconnecting with you, but most importantly, working with you to move the green school movement forward.
See you at the Big Green Tent!