PORTLAND - Four Oregon schools are taking "going green" to a national level as the first-ever recipients of a new Green Ribbon award.
The U.S. Department of Education designated 78 schools across the nation as Green Ribbon schools.
Oregon’s award recipients are Sunnyside Environmental School in Southeast Portland, Gladstone High School, Willamina Elementary School and Catlin Gabel.
The schools offer students hands-on lessons in everything from gardening, to energy efficiency, to recycling and composting.
“In February, we had waste reduction month where all kids, whether they are five or 14, are working on their own personal footprint within the school and the goal is to reduce all waste,” explained Sunnyside Environmental School principal Amy Kleiner.
And at Catlin Gabel, students eat the food they grow while reducing their environmental impact whatever way they can.
“The zero waste by 2012 initiative reduced our landfill contribution over 60 percent. We've reintroduced several composting projects,” said Eric Shawn, facilities director for Catlin Gabel.
This is the first year the U.S Department of Education gave out this award. Nominations for next year need to be in by June.