Planting the sustainability seed early is key for lifelong awareness, and Arizona State University’s efforts to do that with community education were recognized Wednesday with a 2017 Best of Green Schools award from the Center for Green Schools at the U.S Green Building Council, in collaboration with the Green Schools National Network.
The annual Best of Green Schools awards recognize 11 individuals, institutions, projects and events representing the best environmental efforts in schools across the country. ASU was honored in the higher-education category.
“Arizona State University continues to raise the bar in sustainability education and leadership,” said Anisa Heming, director of the Center for Green Schools. “We believe that every student across the country should have the opportunity to learn in and from a green school environment, and ASU is making that happen in its community every day.”
The award highlighted ASU’s variety of programs for middle and high school students, such as the Poly Garden, which leases three of its 48 campus-community garden plots to ASU Preparatory Academy’s sixth- and seventh-grade classrooms and high school environmental science students each semester. To date, the students have logged approximately 2,400 hours in the garden and donated more than 135 pounds of produce to a local food bank.
“When students engage with the entire process of gardening from soil preparation to planting seeds to harvest, it gives them a unique sense of accomplishment and a true understanding of where food really comes from,” said Susan Norton, program manager for University Sustainability Practices and Poly Garden manager. “It generates firsthand respect for our entire food system.”