Green Ribbon Schools


Wisconsin participates in the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) program. Schools that wish to be considered for the nomination must submit the online application by December 1 each year. Use the resources available at and from U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Program to start making your school greener and healthier!

About: The U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) award is intended to recognize those schools taking a comprehensive approach to greening their school. A comprehensive approach incorporates and integrates environmental learning with maximizing positive environmental and health impacts. The award criteria are intended to focus on measurable outcomes wherever possible.

Schools (public/charter, private/independent) and Early Learning Centers who provide 3, 4, or 5 year old kindergarten are eligible to apply for ED-GRS. School districts may also use this application to be considered for the U.S .Department of Education’s District Sustainability Award--simply use the same application, but answer the questions from a district perspective and be sure to type the name of the school district in the "School Name" section. Please note: School District recognition is for ED-GRS only, not Green & Healthy Schools Wisconsin.

The online application tool is designed to document achievement as well as provide additional ideas for implementation. Both quantitative and qualitative questions will help share your school's story. You can work on the application over time and not all questions need to be answered. When you click "save" at the bottom of the screen, you will be provided with a unique URL to allow you to return to your application at a later date. Save this unique URL so you can easily return to your application. If you click "submit" your application will be finalized. If you lose your URL or accidently submit too early, contact Victoria Rydberg at 608-266-0419 or

The information you provide on the online application will demonstrate your school's progress and achievements. Applicants must demonstrate achievement in all nine areas to be considered for ED-GRS nomination. Unless your school is nominated for ED-GRS, the information you provide will not be displayed publicly.

Criteria: Application reviews will be based on the applicant's demonstrated progress towards each of the three ED-GRS goals:

I. Reduced Environmental Impact and Costs

  • Reduced or eliminated greenhouse gas emissions, using an energy audit or emissions inventory and reduction plan, cost-effective energy efficiency improvements, conservation measures, and/or and on-site renewable energy and/or purchase of green power.
  • Improved water quality, efficiency, and conservation;
  • Reduced solid and hazardous waste production through increased recycling, reduced consumption, and improved management, reduction, or elimination of hazardous waste; and
  • Expanded use of alternative transportation, through active promotion of locally-available, energy-efficient options and implementation of alternative transportation supportive projects and policies.

II. Improved Health and Wellness

  • An integrated school environmental health program based on an operations and facility-wide environmental management system that considers student, visitor and staff health and safety in all practices related to design, construction, renovation, operations, and maintenance of schools and grounds; and
  • High standards of nutrition, fitness, and quantity of quality outdoor time for both students and staff.

III. Effective Environmental and Sustainability Education

  • Interdisciplinary learning about the key relationships between dynamic environmental, energy and human systems;
  • Use of the environment and sustainability to develop STEM content knowledge and thinking skills to prepare graduates for the 21st century technology-driven economy; and
  • Development of civic engagement knowledge and skills, and students' application of these to address sustainability and environmental issues in their community.

Due Date: To be considered for U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools nomination, applications must be submitted by December 1, 2014.

For Further Information contact Victoria Rydberg, Environmental Education Consultant, at 608-266-0419 or or Cindy Koepke, Green & Healthy Schools Administrator at 608-267-7622 or

2015 Green Ribbon Honorees

Colby Elementary School
Colby, WI
Application:  PDF

Lake Mills Elementary School
Lake Mills, WI
Application:  PDF

Columbus Elementary-Discovery Charter School
Columbus, WI
Application:  PDF

Middleton—Cross Plains Area Schools
Middleton, WI
Application:  PDF

Past Green Ribbon Honorees

2014 Honorees

Park Elementary
Cross Plains, WI
Application: download files PDF

Tomorrow River Community Charter School
Amherst Junction, WI
Application: download files PDF  

​Hurley K-12 School 
Hurley, WI
Application: download files PDF   

Conserve School
Land O Lakes, WI|
Application: download files PDF  

Greendale School District
Application: download files PDF 

2013 Honorees

Summit Environmental School
La Crosse, WI
Application: download files PDF 

Westlawn Elementary School
Cedarburg, WI
Application: download files PDF 

Jefferson Elementary-Fox River Academy
Appleton, WI
Application: download files PDF

Racine Montessori School
Racine, WI
Application: download files PDF 

School District of Fort Atkinson
Application: download files PDF 

2012 Honorees

Dimensions of Learning Academy
Kenosha, Wisconsin
Application: download files PDF 

Middleton High School
Middleton, Wisconsin
Application: download files PDF 

Purdy Elementary School
Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin
Application: download files PDF 


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For questions about this information, contact Victoria Rydberg (608) 266-0419