Online Courses in Sustainability
Green in Action Awards
In 2013, Green In Action Awards will be granted to inspiring projects based on GEF's sustainability themes. Winners are those schools, classrooms or youth groups who have demonstrated their commitment, creativity, or passion for sustainability in their application. Great application materials include photos, videos, essays, or artwork describing your environmental project, weigh-in, activity, community service project, or green team program! There are so many ways to participate and make a difference so show us how YOU are a champion for sustainability!
Submissions will be reviewed and assessed relative to its creativity, educational value, and potential for sustainability and replication.
Winners receive $250 for their class! They will also be featured in national news and have their application materials (such as videos, photographs and scanned artwork) shared on the National Green Week site.
April 30 - The last day of Earth Month!
Click on the menu to the left to view the 2009 - 2013 winning projects.
How to Apply
1. Complete an application (you'll be asked for contact information and a brief description of your project)
2. Fill out a contest disclaimer (this is to gather your permission to use photos and videos on GEF's website)
3. Include at least one of the following:
- One video up to 10 minutes long
- Up to ten photos*
- Scanned artwork
- Green projects/programs descriptions that took place or were launched in the current school year preferably during National Green Week
- Essays, poems, or other creative literary efforts (up to five examples formatted in word).
* To preserve the quality of the photos please submit original photo files electronically or mail a CD or flash drive with photo files. Printed photos, or photos copied and pasted into Word and PDF documents, cannot be shared on GEF's website if you're chosen as a winner.
4. Submit all materials to GEF by April 30.
- mail to:
Green Education Foundation (GEF)
153 Washington Street, 4th Floor
Walpole, MA 02032
Program Specific Ideas
There are plenty of ways to apply for a Green in Action award, but in case you need some inspiration, check out these great program-specific ideas:
- Organize student energy brigades to monitor the school for lights-out and computer monitors-off.
- Conduct an audit and calculate the savings possible with different strategies such as changing bulbs or lowering the thermostat.
- Search for drafts in the school with the draft-o-meter experiment and take steps to weatherstrip and insulate.
- Create an Energy Pledge for students and staff to sign.
- Organize an Energy Assembly for your class or school to discuss energy conservation and efficiency at your school.
- Make reminders for plugs, thermostats and light switches.
- Organize a fundraiser for your school to purchase green power or to switch to energy efficient fixtures or appliances.
- Have a school landscape design competition that utilizes native plants and water saving irrigation strategies.
- Test all toilets for leaks and fix them right away. Estimate the amount of water you will save in a year.
- Ask students to create a pledge for saving water at home and at school.
- Cleanup a local waterway like these 2012 winners did.
- Have a 'No Bottled Water' day and encourage students to bring a reusable water bottle to refill at fountains.
- Organize a meatless lunch and estimate how much water you saved using National Geographic's hidden water use calculator.
- Organize a 'walk or bike to school day.' You can find great resources to start planning for a safe and successful initiative here.
- Incorporate eco-travel in an art project. Take pictures of the artwork or submit originals!
- Investigate where your school's supplies come from and identify ways to purchase locally to avoid excess transportation emissions.
- Conduct one or more activities and take pictures and gather feedback from students.
- Create an eco-travel pledge for students and families to sign.
- Join the National Idle Reduction Campaign and measure the ways your school is reducing emissions and saving money.
- Organize a garden plot design contest.
- Create an Adopt-a-Plant campaign to improve indoor air quality.
- Take steps to plan a school garden or outdoor learning lab.
- Host a cooking contest where students can only use foods grown in the garden.
- Plant a themed garden such as pizza, basil pesto or salsa and then have a party to celebrate its growth.
- Organize a school yard beautification day.
- Create outdoor artwork with recycled materials such as old CDs or bottles.
- Organize a waste free snack day or week
- Start a recycling program at your school
- Create artwork using plastic bottles, milk cartons or old CDs
- Organize a Paper Brigade to ensure all printers are set to default print on two sides
- Form a committee to update the school's purchasing policies to only buy FSC certified products
- Work with the cafeteria staff to set up a composting program for unused and leftover food
- Ban plastic water bottle vending at school and in meetings
- Conducts audits of your school and identify areas for improvement
- Visit a local LEED Certified building and have students write a case study to present to the class or school
- Implement a Green Cleaning policy
- Organize an Indoor Air Quality campaign to improve the quality of the air students breath at school
- Join the Coalition for Green Schools and share healthy practices with teachers and students during an assembly or notice