Reusables and Sanitation Toolkit
Post-Landfill Action Network

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have received dozens of inquiries from campus sustainability staff looking for guidance on how to work with campus dining facilities that are considering switching to disposable (instead of reusable) dishes and take out containers. Staff are also concerned about the future of reuse programs for items like furniture and electronics. We are providing this document as general guidance for how to have necessary conversations with campus stakeholders. Specific resources are cited from the most reliable and widely trusted resources such as the CDC, FDA, and scientific journal publications.

Bringing Outdoor Learning Home
Green Schoolyards America

This is the first in a series of blogs from Green Schoolyards America, highlighting outdoor activities that are well-suited to our current social distancing situation.

Best Practices for Community Gardens During COVID-19
Cultivating Success

Recorded webinar with Stephanie Smith, Washington State University

3D Printer School Safety: A Guide for Supporting Indoor Air Quality and Human Health
Chemical Insights

Thanks to the development of affordable, compact, and user-friendly 3D printers, consumer use is booming, particularly in classrooms. 3D printers have become a valuable tool in K-12 classrooms because they inspire creativity and problem-solving by bringing students’ ideas and designs to life. But, as with so many new technologies, there are also unintended safety consequences to consider. Research conducted by Chemical Insights (an Institute of Underwriters Laboratories), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to scientific research, along with researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), found that 3D printers emit ultrafine particles (UFPs) and VOCs during operation. This toolkit will walk you through the research processes, key findings, and health consequences. It also presents best practices for mitigating emissions and maintaining safe and healthy school indoor environments.

Whole School Sustainability Framework
Institute for the Built Environment and Center for Green Schools

The framework is founded on the imperative that in order to be successful, sustainability requires a whole-system approach. A Whole-School Sustainability approach requires individuals from across an organization to work together—it cannot be accomplished in a silo. This system framework is organized into the three components of schools: organizational culture, physical place, and educational program. Within these three components, we have identified a total of nine principles.

This report defines each principle and utilizes literature from across the disciplines of social science, business, education, and building science to illustrate how each principle manifests in a school and why it is critical to success. To further illustrate each principle, we have included a short case study on a school or district that exemplifies the principle. Though we present just one aspect of a school or district in each case study, we believe each is practicing whole-school sustainability.

Earth School
United Nations Environment Programme

Earth School provides free, high-quality educational content. Initiated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and TED-Ed, Earth School takes students on a 30-day “Adventure” through the natural world. The curated Earth School content features videos, reading materials and activities — translated into 10 languages — to help students gain an understanding of the environment while considering their role within it. This is the biggest online learning initiative in UNEP’s history and is available for free on TED-Ed’s website.

Resources for Teachers and Students
Tree People

At TreePeople, we are dedicated to working alongside middle and high school educators to help students explore the topics of waste, water and forestry in a fun and engaging way. At this time, while students and teachers are doing classes virtually, we are also offering virtual high-quality, hands-on activities and project support for you and your students! Reach out to us via email, or call us at (818) 623-4856 to tell us how we can help you. Virtual Projects and Environmental Project Support: We can join your virtual classroom, conduct a virtual classroom for you, or walk you through how to conduct activities and projects with the topics below (activities take about an hour). • Recycling • Composting • Waste in the Fashion Industry • Native Plants • Water Pollution and Prevention Toolkits: We can send you our toolkits to download and help you teach lessons on water, waste, and forestry. Coming Soon: Virtual Teacher Workshops: We are working on transforming our in-person workshops to webinars, and will be launching them soon. Stay tuned! We are also launching new virtual community environmental education to engage people of all ages, just follow us on twitter, instagram, or facebook for more details.


Crayola and schools across North America are banding together to help kids understand the importance of their role in protecting the environment. That’s why we launched Crayola ColorCycle. Through this initiative, students in K-12 schools across the continental United States and parts of Canada can collect and repurpose used Crayola markers. ColorCycle is also a great opportunity for teachers and their students to explore ecofriendly practices. Specially developed standards-based lesson plans are available to enrich instruction and promote lively class discussions.

Climate Change Education Programs
Climate Generation

Climate Generation offers interdisciplinary solutions-based climate change education programs for K-12 educators. This includes a suite of K-12 climate change curricula that support current standards used in schools across the nation. Climate Generation also hosts 75 educators annually at its Summer Institute for Climate Education where they receive training and resources for teaching about climate change. Furthermore, climate generation provides an active year-round community that engages educators in lesson planning, book clubs, and education resource trainings. Its Youth Environmental Action program has several toolkits to support educators and youth in their efforts to increase awareness and action for climate change in their communities.

B-WET Regional Grants
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

B-WET regional funding opportunities are offered through local NOAA host offices and generally published in late summer or fall each year. Funded projects provide Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences for students and related professional development for teachers. MWEEs support regional education and environmental priorities.

Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators

The Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators recognizes outstanding kindergarten through grade 12 teachers who employ innovative approaches to environmental education and use the environment as a context for learning for their students. Up to two teachers from each of EPA's 10 regions, from different states, will be selected to receive this award. The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administers this award to honor, support and encourage educators who incorporate environmental education in their classrooms and teaching methods.

A Guide to Zero Energy and Zero Energy Ready K–12 Schools
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Buildings account for nearly 40% of the energy consumed in the United States (EIA n.d.), and reducing that energy use offers many benefits to owners, occupants, and communities. The number of zero energy (ZE) buildings—which are so energy efficient that on-site renewable energy (usually solar photovoltaics [PV]) can meet or exceed their annual energy needs—is growing steadily as the hurdles of getting to ZE are better understood and more easily overcome. Thanks to the focus on energy efficiency during planning, design, construction, and operation, these buildings cost less to operate; provide healthy, comfortable, attractive indoor environments; and can be designed and built on conventional building budgets. The number of ZE buildings in the United States continues to grow. Globally, the ZE buildings market is projected to grow to $78.79 billion by 2025 (Grand View Research 2017a), up from $8.04 billion in 2016 (Grand View Research 2017b).

Interest in getting to ZE is particularly keen among U.S. school districts (Torcellini and Pless 2018a; Torcellini and Pless 2018b). In addition to saving money on energy, a significant benefit for many cash-strapped school districts, ZE schools are living laboratories for students, supporting districts’ highest priority—creating robust learning environments. Schools are generally high-profile buildings in communities and tend to be one to three stories, which helps make ZE an achievable goal with on-site renewables (Griffith et al. 2007).

Green Schools National Network
Green Schools National Network

Green Schools National Network (GSNN) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that works with educators to develop and implement broad-based initiatives and successful strategies designed to foster healthy, sustainable K-12 schools across the United States. Founded in 2008 by principals, superintendents, and teachers, GSNN is devoted to accelerating student achievement through the implementation of green, healthy, and sustainable practices as outlined in our GreenPrint® for Green, Healthy, and Sustainable Schools. GSNN provides K-12 teachers, administrators, leaders, and professionals with evidence-based resources, including publications, a resource library, full-service professional services, and a 12-month calendar of professional development opportunities.

GSNN’s work is grounded in these five core values: 1) Educational innovation is driven by sustainability; 2) Leadership is the key to creating sustainable schools; 3) Student voices and perspectives are part of the solution for a sustainable future; 4) High-quality professional learning opportunities inspire educators to transform their classrooms AND our entire educational system; and 5) Innovation is fostered through collaboration with sustainability change makers.

Palo Alto USD Chemical Guidelines
Palo Alto Unified School District

In light of BP 3514 and AR 3514, and in light of the harmful health impacts associated with exposures to chemicals found in commonly used consumer products, these guidelines are developed to provide fundamental action steps to ensure the: Enhancement of student learning by providing a healthy school environment; Reduction in the amount of hazardous materials and chemicals used, released, and exposed to students and staff; Improvement of Indoor Air Quality in classrooms and other rooms district wide; and Reduction of occupational exposures to chemicals of concern.

Climate Parents Website
Climate Parents

Climate Parents is a diverse national movement of parents, grandparents and families mobilizing for clean energy and climate solutions. We work to influence public policy makers and energy providers to take bold steps to protect kids and communities from the health and climate impacts of burning fossil fuels---and to move toward 100% clean energy. Motivated by love for our kids, we’re striving to harness the moral and political force of millions of families for the healthy, equitable and just world all children deserve.

The Advanced Energy Design Guide—Achieving Zero Energy series

The Advanced Energy Design Guide—Achieving Zero Energy series provides a cost effective approach to achieve advanced levels of energy savings. The four-color Guides offer contractors and designers the tools, including recommendations for practical products and off-the-shelf technology, needed for achieving a zero energy building which is defined as a building that, on an annual basis, draws from outside resources equal or less energy than it provides using on-site renewable energy sources.

Generation 180 Solar Schools Resources

Website with toolkits and resources to help schools achieve solar

Learning Green: LAUSD Sustainability Initiatives
Los Angeles Unified School District

LAUSD aims to be the most sustainable and environmentally-friendly large urban school district in the Country. In 2007, the Board of Education passed a resolution titled Green LAUSD, which directed the superintendent to establish a "green" accountability system outlining measurable outcomes for sustainability. In response, the Sustainability Initiatives Unit (SIU) was developed in 2008 as a part of the Facilities Services Division

BPS Healthy + Sustainable Schools
Boston Public Schools

BPS believes that every child deserves access to a great education, and every day we work to design, build and operate our school sites as high-performance spaces where every child can succeed. Vision: every Boston Public Schools student will attend a healthy and sustainable school. Priorities: Zero Waste; Water; Healthy School Environment; Outdoor Classrooms; Climate & Energy

Austin ISD Sustainability Plan
Austin Independent School District

Austin ISD recognizes that it is uniquely poised to balance the needs of the environment, the diverse community we serve, and available financial resources through sustainable practices. The district’s first sustainability staff was hired in 2014 and has since worked with the Austin ISD Environmental Stewardship Advisory Committee (ESAC) to develop the Austin ISD Sustainability Plan to achieve the Board’s commitment to: Ensure responsible stewardship of energy, water, and other natural resources; Create healthy environments for teaching and learning; Support sustainability as an economic, environmental, and social priority to be taught and practiced throughout the District.

GreenFutures: A Sustainability Plan for The School District of Philadelphia
The School District of Philadelphia

GreenFutures is a five­-year sustainability plan that was created by District staff and stakeholders with a common goal: to make public schools great. This plan is an offshoot of Action Plan 3.0 and it aims to make every school a green school that will better serve our students and communities.

NYC DOE Office of Sustainability Annual Report 2017-2018
NYC Department of Education

The Annual Report is an overview of the New York City Department of Education’s (DOE) sustainability programs and partnerships in Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17), spanning July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017. This report includes information pertaining to energy and climate, waste, water, green infrastructure, and environmental education as well as compliance with local laws and Chancellor’s Regulations.

Sustainable Gardening Library
Sustainable Gardening Institute

The Sustainable Gardening Library is an online, easy-to-use, curated collection of resources on how to grow flowers and food in Earth-friendly ways. The documents, images, illustrations, maps, and videos you’ll find here are provided by public gardens, arboreta, and other nonprofit educational organizations; colleges and universities; and government agencies.

Green Interns Program
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA Green Interns Program is an entry-level program for individuals interested in opportunities at EPA Headquarters offices in the Washington, D.C. area, as well as in our Regional offices in major cities throughout the U.S. EPA Green Interns will be part of a one-year program and will join the agency at the GS-7 level. After the one-year program ends, Green Interns are eligible for a seamless conversion into a career-conditional appointment with EPA.

Energize Colleges
Strategic Energy Innovations

Energize Colleges is an award-winning program that helps build a highly qualified energy and sustainability workforce through paid, hands-on internships and industry-aligned academic learning experiences. SEI partners with colleges and universities to provide opportunities for student sustainability career exploration, and resume and skills development. Through the Energize Colleges program, current college students are empowered to lead meaningful sustainability projects on campus and in the community, both through coursework and paid internships.

Energize Schools
Strategic Energy Innovations

Engaging, inspiring, and empowering K-12 students to become environmental leaders in their communities, green their facilities, and conserve resources through hands-on learning.

Delaware Pathways to Green Schools
Green Building United

Delaware Pathways to Green Schools program provides grants, one-on-one support, and expert resources to K-12 schools in Delaware that are committed to becoming healthier, more sustainable, and more energy efficient.

Participating schools work toward achieving certification and national recognition through Eco-Schools USA and the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools award.

Benefits to participating schools include: networking with like-minded educators, opportunities to attend roundtables and workshops, free building energy assessments (for qualifying schools), access to the EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to help with energy benchmarking, eligibility to apply for an annual mini-grant program, and access to support while implementing sustainability initiatives.