The Des Moines Central Campus school is one of 78 nationwide to win a “Green Ribbon” designation from the U.S. Department of Education. Des Moines schools spokesperson, Phil Roeder, says one part of the award involves the work on the school building.

“We are in the midst, like many districts in Iowa of course, renovating our schools throughout the community. And we pay a lot of attention and put a lot of effort into the energy efficiency aspect of that…so part of this recognition is part of the energy efficiency efforts that are underway,” Roeder says.

A second part of the recognition involves the education of students. “We have several programs from college-level science courses to career and technical programs that are located at Central Campus,” Roeder explains. “And so it’s not only doing things the right way, but it’s also teaching about things like new forms of energy sustainability efforts and really involving the entire community around the school with some of those programs.”

One of the key teaching programs is the “Iowa Energy and Sustainability Academy.” “It’s a high school program, which actually gives in many cases college level credit to students, that is looking at sustainability efforts. And teaching students about wind turbines and other forms of new energy. It’s teaching them about energy conservation and management and new green technology,” Roeder says.

He says the academy programs are also used to help other schools in the district. He says the Central Campus kicked off a recycling campaign that recycled 20,000 pounds of paper, and they worked with an elementary school to “trickle down” what they are learning.

The Department of Education’s “Green Ribbons” are one-year recognition awards. Find out more at:  www.dmschools.org.