Garrett Co. Elementary School Named One of Few Green Ribbon Schools Nationwide

The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) named Crellin Elementary School (CES) in Oakland, Garrett County, a 2022 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award honoree. CES is the only school in the state of Maryland to receive this award, and is one of just 27 honorees nationwide.

The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) nominated Garrett County’s Crellin Elementary School for the prestigious Green Ribbon Schools award for its work remedying a local creek of historic mining contaminants and using the environment as a learning tool to teach gardening, watershed standards, and conservation practices in an outdoor classroom.

According to a Garrett County Public Schools press release, the elementary school also offers “green” learning opportunities via an agricultural program featuring an onsite barn with sheep and hens, an onsite solar panel that maximizes egg production, a composting program, and an onsite greenhouse that uses hydroponics. Additionally, the school building has an upgraded HVAC system to be more energy efficient.

Nationwide, only 27 schools, five districts, and four institutions of higher education are honored as 2022 Green Ribbon recipients for their “innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education.”

The goal of USDE’s Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) program is to “inspire schools, districts, and institutions of higher education (IHEs) to strive for 21st-century excellence by highlighting promising school sustainability practices and resources that all can employ. To that end, the Green Ribbon Schools award recognizes schools, districts, and IHEs that:

  1. reduce environmental impact and costs;
  2. improve the health and wellness of schools, students, and staff; and
  3. provide effective environmental and sustainability education

“This is awesome!” said Dr. Dana McCauley, principal of Crellin Elementary School, on earning the award. “I’m so proud to be a part of this school community that embraces working toward a sustainable culture and who is not afraid of hard work. This award recognizes all our students—past and present, staff, and community members who have worked tirelessly through the years to help create this environment. We are truly grateful for all the outside agencies and community support that we continue to receive.”

Garrett County Superintendent Barbara Baker also congratulated the school: “Please join in me in congratulating the staff, students, parents, and the entire Crellin community on being the only school in the state of Maryland to be recognized as a USDE Green Ribbon School. This award is certainly well-deserved!”

An awards ceremony will take place at the end of July, in Washington, D.C., where Crellin Elementary will receive an engraved plaque made of sustainable materials.

Useful links:
  • Details of all winning schools, districts, colleges, and universities, as well as their nomination packages, can be found on the USDE’s website.
  • A report with highlights on the 36 honorees can also be found on the USDE website.
  • Information on the Green Ribbon Schools program and the federal recognition award can be found on the USDE website.
  • Resources for all schools to move to improve their environmental footprint are available on the green strides website.