3 county schools earn green ribbon status
by SHANE DUNAWAY
Three Talladega County schools received notification by the State of Alabama Department of Education selecting those campuses as 2013 Alabama Green Ribbon Schools Tuesday.

Munford Middle, Munford High and Fayetteville High schools continued the Green Ribbon trend for Talladega County schools. Munford Elementary School and Winterboro High School won Green Ribbon status at the national level in 2012.

Talladega County School System also won Green Ribbon status as a district for its green efforts, including saving more than $2.5 million in conservation measures from 2009-2012, and securing and utilizing $6 million in grants to provide environmental education components.

The Green Ribbon Schools Program, implemented in 2011 by the U.S. Department of Education, honors schools taking an all-inclusive approach to fostering eco-friendly surroundings by decreasing its environmental impact, promoting health and ensuring a high-quality environmental and outdoor education to prepare its students.

The program identifies schools that save money, reduce costs, feature highly sustainable learning spaces, protect health, promote wellness and offer environmental education to boost academic achievement and community engagement.

Munford Middle and Munford High schools share one building.

The two schools challenge their students with authentic learning experiences within the school’s greenhouse and fisheries, as well as offering aesthetic elements such as the walking path, outdoor classrooms, a reading pavilion and even a waterfall.

“Conservation of the environment is very critical to our project-based learning,” said Anthony Wilkinson, Munford High School principal. “Our school provides a great opportunity for our students to learn about their environment.”

Fayetteville High School features a butterfly garden for students to observe the stages of metamorphosis, a five-bed sensory garden designed to engage all five senses and a vegetable garden maintained by the students with themes assigned to each grade.

Susan Shaw, a first-grade teacher at Fayetteville, used the third grade’s theme as an example when explaining the concept. Third-graders provide care to the “pizza garden,” a garden section planted in the shape of a pizza with tomatoes, basil, garlic and other herbs and ingredients one would use to create a pizza.

Fayetteville High School’s campus also contains a wetlands area, a tree grove featuring more than 560 trees and shrubs native to Alabama and a nearby river in which students fish and study wildlife.

“We’re excited about this state award and we are honored to accept it,” said Byron Brasher, FHS principal. “Our students and staff have put forth a collective effort to improve our campus.”

The schools will move on to the national level of competition and the USDE will announce the winners April 23.

All nominated and winning schools will be recognized by the State Board of Education at the May 9 meeting and up to five representatives from the nominated schools will be invited to a picnic lunch provided by the Environmental Education Association of Alabama.

Contact Shane Dunaway at sdunaway@dailyhome.com

© 2013