A Baton Rouge magnet school and a charter school in Belle Chasse are the latest schools in Louisiana to earn a “green ribbon” from the federal government for their commitment to conservation and environmental education.
The U.S. Department of Education announced the winners Thursday at noon. Mayfair Lab School in Baton Rouge and Belle Chasse Academy in Belle Chasse are among 45 schools nationwide to earn green ribbons, and both are first-time winners. Fifty-six public school districts also won.
In the post-secondary category, LSU is one of nine colleges and universities to earn green ribbons.
Louisiana was one of 29 states that participated in the Green Ribbon School program this year. A year ago, three Louisiana public schools won green ribbons as did one university, University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Two of those schools, Baton Rouge Magnet High and Westdale Heights Academic Magnet, are in Baton Rouge, and the third, Ben Franklin High School, is in New Orleans.
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The federal government gave out its first Green Ribbon school award in 2011.
“I would like to thank our faculty, staff, PTA, students and numerous sponsors for supporting our efforts in becoming a green school,” said Mayfair Lab Principal Christa Bordelon-Leon.
She singled out Tiffany May, an environmental science teacher, and Corey Delahoussaye, a parent who has worked with students to plant gardens throughout the school.
Environmental science is a theme at Mayfair and a lot of learning occurs outdoors
“Students gather data, examine soil, learn about resource management, and study sustainable habitats,” according to the narrative that accompanies the award. “Student-led projects have led to the establishment of programs for composting, recycling, and gardening, including 30 student-planted garden beds, trees, shrubs, indigenous plants, and vertical tower gardens, as well as a butterfly garden.”
Bordelon-Leon said the school plans to hold a celebration later this month once standardized testing is complete.
Developed in 2013 in partnership with the better known LSU Lab School, Mayfair Lab has about 340 students in kindergarten through sixth grade.
In the case of Belle Chasse Academy, the Green Ribbon school program pointed to a variety of school initiatives in deciding to honor the school. For instance, the school operates a year-round hydroponic greenhouse and an array of outdoor gardens that generate produce for students to eat as well as to sell to nearby farmers and restaurants.
In honoring LSU, the U.S. Department of Education highlighted the university’s commitment to environmental sustainability, including the creation of a “campus sustainability office” that seeks to meet long-term goals in the reduction of the usage of energy, greenhouse gas as well as increasing recycling.
“When it comes to efficient operations and environmental sustainability, LSU’s efforts encompass smart growth and transportation, such as electric car charging stations and ride- and bike-share programs, recycling and composting, energy efficiency and green building, and natural resources protection,” according to the Department of Education's news release.