Twenty-eight schools across Kent County have been awarded with Michigan Green School certification in anticipation of Earth Day, celebrated April 22nd each year. The schools participated in activities to learn about environmental topics, act on what they learned by doing service projects and share what they learned through outreach to their community and peers.

After completing a list of activities covering topics like recycling, energy, environmental protection, or other environmental actions that suited the interests of the students, the schools submitted their applications to their Green Schools Coordinator, Kent County Department of Public Works Resource Recovery Specialist Lauren Westerman. To be considered a Michigan Green School, an achievement recognized by Governor Snyder and the Michigan Legislature through Public Act 301 of 2010, schools completed ten to twenty different activities relating to environmental studies. Based on the number of activities they complete, the schools are eligible for three different levels of Green School certification: Green, Emerald or, the top award, Evergreen.

“These twenty-eight schools brought sustainability conversations into the classroom in really creative ways,” said Westerman. “From writing letters to President Trump to implementing a school uniform reuse room to adopting endangered species and taking a field trip to the Kent County Recycling Center, these schools have really invested time and energy into teaching the value of sustainability.”

Schools that achieved Michigan Green School certification from Kent County include:

Evergreen School (completed at least 20 activities)
Ada Vista Elementary, Ada
Cherry Creek Elementary, Lowell
City High Middle School and the Center for Economicology, Grand Rapids
Emmons Lake Elementary, Caledonia
Grandville High School, Grandville
Highlands Middle School, Grand Rapids
Holy Trinity Catholic School, Comstock Park
Kettle Lake Elementary, Alto
New Branches Charter Academy, Grand Rapids
Northview Crossroads Middle School, Grand Rapids
Parkside Elementary, Rockford

Emerald School (completed at least 15 activities)
CA Frost Elementary Environmental Science Academy, Grand Rapids
Congress Elementary, Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids Montessori Public School, Grand Rapids
Grand View Elementary, Grandville
Meadow Brook Elementary, Grand Rapids
Murray Lake Elementary, Lowell
West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science, Grand Rapids

Green School (completed at least 10 activities)
Bushnell Elementary, Lowell
Caledonia Elementary, Caledonia
Cedar Springs High School, Cedar Springs
Cedar Springs Middle School, Cedar Springs
Dutton Elementary, Caledonia
Forest Hills Central Middle School, Ada
Forest Hills Eastern Middle School, Ada
Lee Elementary, Middleville
Lowell High School, Lowell
Paris Ridge Elementary, Caledonia

Kent County Department of Public Works is the local county coordinator for the statewide Michigan Green Schools program, a non-profit agency dedicated to assisting all Michigan schools to achieve environmental goals including protecting air, land, water and animals through good ecological practices and the teaching of environmental stewardship. The program started in 2005 as an idea of students and teachers at a school in Howell, Michigan and has grown to include more than 650 Michigan schools in 2016.