2016 Innovative Environmental Education Program Award - Sustainability Incentive Program

Sustainability Incentive Program

Douglas County School District

www.dcsdk12.org/sustainability


Since 2009, the Douglas County School District Sustainability Incentive Program has sparked the creation of hundreds of environmental education initiatives ranging from energy conservation, waste reduction, alternative transportation and idle reduction, to schoolyard habitats and gardens. With a flexible school-based approach, this program provides financial incentives to implement EE and support to reach those goals. By focusing on outcomes in energy (and in prior years waste and transportation), schools are given the freedom to develop innovative programs and solutions to achieve those outcomes. The program does change and adapt from year to year, but the premise stays the same: if a school reduces its impact on the environment, we provide the school a proportion of the savings back. Over half of DCSD’s 68 schools regularly participate in the incentive program. The impact is powerful: students engage in authentic inquiry and design thinking to address sustainability issues in the school community, teachers are provided with a framework to address 21st Century Skills and World Class Outcomes, and by doing so they receive funds to further their sustainability efforts exponentially. As a result of this program, schools have funded gardens and schoolyard habitats, provided energy upgrades, purchased recycle bins and scales, built compost bins, created “no idle zones” in school parking lots, and even put the funds to work in chicken coops.

CAEE works to ensure everyone in Colorado has an opportunity to learn about the environment where they live. We value inclusiveness and welcome everyone to the field of environmental education.

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