• Progress

    In 2017, 14 percent of public and charter schools in the Chesapeake Bay watershed—a total of 610 schools—were certified sustainable.

    Certified sustainable schools include public and charter schools within the Chesapeake Bay watershed that have been recognized as sustainable by the following programs: U.S. Green Ribbon Schools, National Wildlife Federation Eco-Schools USA, Maryland Green Schools, Pennsylvania Pathways to Green Schools and Virginia Naturally Schools.

    At 82 percent of the total (or 503 schools), Maryland is home to most of the certified sustainable schools in the watershed. Seventeen percent of the sustainable schools in the watershed are located in Virginia, with one additional school located in Pennsylvania and four additional schools located in Washington, D.C. Because the vigor of school sustainability programs varies among jurisdictions, state participation in these programs can differ. In some states, programs are robust; in others, programs are not well-established; and in others, programs do not yet exist.

    While no part of the watershed was excluded from this count, not every jurisdiction has a state-specific sustainable school program. The Chesapeake Bay Program will continue to monitor sustainable school programs in the region, and may expand future reporting to include new programs that meet the sustainable school criteria defined by the U.S. Department of Education. Future reporting may also include sustainable private schools, which are not measured here.

    While this outcome is not associated with a numerical target, experts anticipate the number of certified sustainable schools in the watershed to rise as partners implement those actions identified in this outcome's management strategy.

    Sustainable schools reduce the environmental impact of their buildings and grounds, work to improve the health and wellness of students and staff, and offer environmental education incorporating civic skills, STEM and green career pathways. Because increasing sustainability in and around schools can directly involve students in environmental protection and restoration, a rise in sustainable schools can indicate a rise in overall environmental literacy.

  • Management Strategy

    To achieve the sustainable schools outcome, participating partners have committed to:

    • Promoting and strengthening “sustainable school” certification and recognition programs consistent with high-quality, objective and agreed-upon criteria;
    • Promoting, developing and/or disseminating needs assessments, training, technical resources and promotional materials for “sustainable school” stakeholders;
    • Identifying and promoting the use of best management practices at school sites related to environmental protection; and
    • Broadening stakeholder engagement to include a focus on human health at schools.

    These partners will also collaborate with the work being done to achieve the 2017 and 2025 Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs), citizen stewardship, diversity, public access, and water quality standards attainment and monitoring outcomes.

    As part of the Chesapeake Bay Program’s partnership-wide implementation of adaptive management, progress toward this outcome will be reviewed and discussed by the Management Board in February of 2018.

  • Work Plan
    Chesapeake Bay Program partners have committed to taking specific actions over the course of 2016 and 2017 to achieve the high-level approaches identified in the management strategy above.

    Completed actions from the work plan include:

    • In Washington, D.C., the Office of the State Superintendent of Education and Environmental Education Consortium have informed the Healthy Youth and Schools Commission of the Chesapeake Bay Program's sustainable school goals.
    • In Virginia, the Department of Education has asked experts, stakeholders, and state and federal agencies to suggest tools, resources, training opportunities and other assistance to help schools implement sustainable school programs.
  • Participating Partners

    The Fostering Stewardship Goal Implementation Team leads the effort to achieve this outcome.

    Participating partners include:

    • State of Delaware
    • State of Maryland
    • Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
    • Commonwealth of Virginia
    • District of Columbia
    • Chesapeake Bay Commission
    • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    • National Park Service
    • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
    • U.S. Forest Service
    • U.S. Geological Survey
    • Chesapeake Bay Foundation
    • National Wildlife Federation
    • North American Association for Environmental Education