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WFES Honored

Woodland Forrest Elementary was honored among nearly 50 schools with the designation as being a 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools in Washington, D.C.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Education Director Louisa Koch, Director of the Campaign for Environmental Literacy James L. Elder, and Director of the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council Anisa Heming joined Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Frank Brogan today to congratulate the school on their achievements at a ceremony at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Woodland Forrest Elementary was nominated by Alabama State Department of Education. Woodland Forrest Elementary School demonstrates a commitment to its role in helping create a sustainable world through the pursuit of strategies that improve environmental conditions, enhance individual well-being, and develop well-educated, thoughtful and engaged graduates. As a Discovering Alabama Model School, Woodland Forrest ensures that all students are learning that science is exciting and the environment is worth saving. Great emphasis is placed on science and environmental learning through the school’s science lab, its Alabama Certified Outdoor Classrooms, man-made sensory garden, butterfly garden, bird sanctuary, recirculating water-flow waterfalls, and student participation in several beneficial recycling programs. Woodland Forrest has many community partners that help the school become better environmental stewards and healthier individuals; these partnerships contribute to the school’s long-term environmental and ecological sustainability education. One community partnership helped create and support an organic teaching garden. Students plant, observe, harvest, and cook garden produce through this program while integrating Alabama state standards using the award-winning Schoolyard Roots garden curriculum. Family and community involvement is further fostered through the annual Earth Day celebration, DiscoverFest, as well as Family STEM Science Nights. Woodland Forrest is a place where students truly learn that “Discovery Starts Here!”


“We are extremely proud of the distinction of being recognized as a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School. We feel like our students benefit from the environmental educational practices that are embedded in our daily routines. The benefits that our students receive from these practices will be far-reaching and greatly impact their lives.” –Dr. Terri Byrts, principal

“Woodland Forrest is a place where students develop leadership traits through experiences outside the walls of classrooms through partnerships with business, universities and essential community stakeholders.” – Pam Sloan, Discovering Alabama Education Outreach Coordinator- University of Alabama Natural History Museum.

At the event, 46 schools and six districts were honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education. In addition, six colleges and universities were honored with the Postsecondary Sustainability Award. Representatives from honored schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions received sustainably crafted plaques in recognition of their achievements.

The honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 25 states and the Department of Defense Department of Education Activity. The selectees include 40 public schools, including two magnet schools and two charter schools, as well as six nonpublic schools. Forty-five percent of the 2018 honorees serve a disadvantaged student body.

View the list of all selected schools and districts and summaries of each of the 58 honorees. More information on the federal recognition award can be found here. Resources for all schools to meet the criteria for the award can be found here.

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A Note on the Award Name for Use in Communications
ED's award is called "U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools" and has "District Sustainability Award" and "Postsecondary Sustainability Award" categories, in addition to the original school award. It is abbreviated ED-GRS. "Green Ribbon Schools" without the "U.S. Department of Education" is not ED's award, but instead is a separate program overseen by another organization. A selected school is a "Year U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School." A selected district is a "Year U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools District Sustainability Awardee." A selected postsecondary institution is a “Year U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Postsecondary Sustainability Awardee. There is no "National," “Award,” or "Program" in the title. There is no apostrophe or hyphen after Education.