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Asheville-area school celebrates national Green Ribbon award



4/25/2012 - Asheville-area school celebrates national Green Ribbon award
by Julie Ball - Asheville Citizen Times

ASHEVILLE -- As students unrolled a big banner inside the gym at Evergreen Community Charter School Tuesday morning, they celebrated news that their school was among the nation's first Green Ribbon Schools.

The U.S. Department of Education announced the awards earlier this week. A total of 78 schools earned the Green Ribbon School designation. Evergreen was one of only two in North Carolina to win the award.

"This is amazing," said sixth-grader Molly Schantz. "I really think that our school does deserve it because we are a very environmentally conscious school, and our students learn about the environment and how to take care of it."

The Green Ribbon designation was based on three main areas: the school facilities, health and wellness and the school curriculum. The charter school has about 400 students.

"I am really excited to know that 13 years worth of really hard work and effort toward being an environmental education school has now been recognized. It's an honor," said Susan Gottfried, the school's executive director.

"It wasn't easy," Gottfried said. "I'm reminded a little bit of the Kermit the Frog song, 'It's not easy being green.' It does take a lot to get this award."

Gottfried said environmental awareness is built into everything at the school.

"Every day the kids are involved in composting. Every day the kids are using nondisposable plates and napkins for snacks and lunches. Every day the kids ha ve something about environmental education woven into their curriculum," she said.

"Our kids, they get it. They kind of think in terms of what's best for our environment."

The only other school in North Carolina to win the award was American Hebrew Academy in Greensboro.

Two representatives from each winning school will travel to Washington, D.C., in June for a recognition ceremony.

A celebration

At the school celebration Tuesday, teachers handed out green ribbons to students, and students unveiled the large banner announcing the award.

Radio host Ned Ryan Doyle made the announcement to students gathered in the gym.

"I think Evergreen really deserved it because we really strive to achieve an environmental and healthy school that benefits the community and everyone that is in the school," sixth-grader Graham Dugliss said.

Dugliss and Schantz are both members of the school's "green team," meeting after school on Mondays to learn more about the environment.

"We are a small group that learns specifically about things that can benefit the environment like how there are machines and electronics that suck energy even when you think they are turned off or how to conserve water and not pollute," Dugliss said.

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