Two county public schools have been added to the distinguished list of Maryland Green Schools and eleven more have earned recertification honors, the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE) has announced. The latest schools to earn the achievement are: Freetown and Germantown elementary schools.

Eight other AACPS schools achieved their first recertification. They are: Cape St. Claire, Fort Smallwood, Oak Hill, Richard Henry Lee, and Riviera Beach elementary schools; Marley Glen Special School; Severn River Middle School; and Southern High School.  Mayo Elementary School and Broadneck High School earned their second recertifications.

In addition, West Annapolis Elementary School received a new designation as a “sustainable” school. Schools that achieve this honor (just 13 across the state), “have demonstrated a continuous effort to integrate sustainable environmental practices, environmental education curriculum, professional development and community engagement into daily operations,” according to MAEOE.

With 70 schools and centers now with green schools status, about 56 percent of AACPS facilities have completed the challenging process to earn the state’s highest recognition of environmental literacy.

The green school designation is earned over the course of about two years as schools establish an effective, proactive environmental program that includes getting the entire community involved in becoming more environmentally conscious. Successful schools integrate “green” thinking into every aspect of the school experience from staff professional development to community celebrations.

Established nearly 20 years ago, the Maryland Green School Program celebrates Maryland’s model environmental education efforts as seen through extensive projects that address at least two of the following areas: energy, water, waste, habitat restoration, transportation, healthy school environment, and/or structures for outdoor learning. After demonstrating a sustained culture of environmental action and awareness, schools are encouraged to seek recertification every four years.