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Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Lanier Middle School Is Virginia's First Green Flag Eco-School Award Recipient

Lanier Middle School is the first school in Virginia to earn the National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-Schools USA Green Flag award—its highest award—and will receive and raise its green flag on Wednesday, June 15, at 10 a.m. Lanier Middle School is a Fairfax County public school.

Lanier is just the third school in the United States to earn the Eco-Schools USA Green Flag status. The program takes a holistic approach to greening the school building, grounds, and curriculum. It is designed to provide ways to save money, reduce waste, and improve the environmental awareness of students. In the fall, Lanier achieved silver award status in the Eco-Schools USA program after working for more than a year to encourage environmental stewardship.

Working as the Lanier Eco-Action Team, students, teachers, parents, administrators, and members of the custodial staff have initiated and carried out a number of projects to encourage sustainability at the school. The team introduced an energy saving project with a goal of reducing the lighting load in the school by 15 to 20 percent; converted the central courtyard into a model ecosystem using native plants; expanded the recycling program and established a compost site; created and sold reusable tote bags and BPA-free water bottles to reduce the use of plastic; proposed setting up a solar panel to demonstrate the feasibility of renewable energy; and established an after-school Environmental Service Learning Club. Through these projects more than 1,200 students have earned approximately 1,800 service hours at Lanier. 

Initiatives by the Eco-Action Team are linked to the curriculum at Lanier in several ways. The ecosystem plan is linked to the seventh grade science unit in ecology; the energy plan is linked to the eighth grade electricity unit; waste consumption topics are linked to community service hours, required of all students, and to seventh grade requirements to perform five hours of environmental service each quarter. Student projects to design artwork for the school’s Eco-Code—various art work made out of recycled materials—and create a video to raise environmental awareness are tied into the school’s fine arts and technology curricula.

The National Wildlife Federation is the U.S. host for the international Eco-Schools program, an international network of 38,000 K-12 schools in 51 countries, which was established in 1994 by the Foundation for Environmental Education with support by the European Commission. It was named by the United Nations Environment Program as a model initiative for Education for Sustainable Development in 2003.


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Note: Lanier Middle School is located at 3801 Jermantown Road in Fairfax. For more information, contact principal Scott Poole at 703-934-2400 or sfpoole@fcps.edu or Faiza Alam at falam@fcps.edu.