ED-Green Ribbon Schools Preparing Graduates for Green Careers

Many ED-Green Ribbon Schools use an inquiry-based approach that allows students to engage with the environment, sustainability, and their community through real life application.  This week, we look at how high schools are preparing their graduates for future careers in natural resource conservation, clean energy generation, and medical and biological sciences.

At Wyoming County Career and Technical Center in Pineville, W. Va., the school is offering the following classes: Building Construction designs energy efficient modular homes; Diesel Technology manufactures biodiesel; Electrical Technology retrofits golf carts; Automotive Technology recycles used oil; Welding developed an electronics recycling program; and Industrial Equipment Technology designed and installed a 42-panel solar power system atop their school building.

At Clarkston High School in Clarkston, Mich., students reuse a local refrigeration design company’s scrap and waste insulation in their prototyping, modeling and aerodynamic analyses.  They also refurbish 55 gallon drums into rain barrels, design commercial structures and homes using Habitat for Humanity guidelines, and design, build, and test circuits to power electrical devices from donated solar panels.

At A.W. Beattie Career and Technical Center in Allison Park, Pa. science students grow herbs and vegetable seedlings to supply the culinary program, cosmetology students study chemical usage and disposal, automotive students study environmental regulations, and the carpentry program designed a pavilion for a local elementary school and bird and bat houses for the campus.

At Gladstone High School in Gladstone, Ore., Environmental Leadership, Ecology and Renewable Energy courses focus on reducing the environmental footprint of the school and community through project based learning on sustainability topics.  Culinary Arts covers sustainable and local food; Drafting explores energy efficiency in buildings; Computer Technology teaches electronics recycling; Environmental Science examines native habitat restoration; and Biology follows how resource management affects food chain sustainability.

At Des Moines Central High School, in Des Moines Iowa, Home Building students use recycled materials to turn old bleachers into hardwood flooring; Aviation salvages old jets and helicopters; Welding recycled over 43,000 pounds of scrap metal in 2011; Design students study sustainability principles and devise constructions that incorporate LEED criteria; and  Horticulture students offer their landscaping services throughout the campus.

At The Athenian School in Danville, Calif, students produce school bus biodiesel in their science labs, learn permaculture garden techniques, harvest and press olives, construct an aircraft, design robotics, and previously converted a car to electric power.

These are just a few examples of how 2012 ED-Green Ribbon Schools are using environment and sustainability to prepare students for the green careers of the future. To learn more about their innovative practices, see highlights from their applications.  Also register for any of several Green Strides Webinar Series green career-focused sessions featuring U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Agriculture, NASA and Department of the Interior experts and programs!

Kyle Flood is a confidential assistant in ED’s Office of the General Counsel and a member of the ED Green Team