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"Green Strides" Tour Ends with Focus on New Hanover Schools, UNCW

Three Wilmington-area recipients of this year’s national Green Ribbon Awards were showcased today by federal and state education officials as they concluded their three-day “Green Strides” tour of North Carolina schools that teach and model sustainability and environmental awareness. 

After meeting at UNC Wilmington to travel as a group via trolley, Thursday’s tour began at Wrightsville Beach Elementary School, which is led by Principal Jackson Norveil. WBS marine science program has grown over 20 years to encompass outdoor marine science and environmental education, classroom education, community outreach, interdisciplinary learning, and citizen science projects. Each week, students have class on the school dock to learn about the marsh ecosystem and local wildlife. WBS student council members guided guests through a marine science discussion on the dock, presented their grade-level garden and highlighted their recycling and energy savings initiatives.  

Back on the trolley, the visitors stopped next at D.C. Virgo Preparatory Academy, a laboratory school led by Principal Sabrina Hill-Black. The school’s instructional focus is guided by an approach called PIER (Personalized, Inquiry-based, Experiential, and Reflective), and the school emphasizes interdisciplinary STEM education, sustainability and environmental literacy. Students discussed restorative circles and taught guests about mycology. Guests visited an action-based learning room, explored their learning gardens, and experienced their outdoor classroom before wrapping up in the school’s designated STEM room, where students worked with circuits.    

The Green Strides tour culminated with a visit to the UNC Wilmington – one of only two universities in North Carolina to be named a Postsecondary Sustainability Awardee by the Green Ribbon program During the visit, Chancellor Dr. Jose V. Sartarelli received the award on behalf of the university for its effort to create a healthy campus that promotes emotional well-being, sustainability, and financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, and spiritual development. Followed by lunch and a roundtable discussion, guests visited Veterans Hall to see the STEM applications in UNCW’s applied health science laboratories. The Watson School of Education highlighted applied learning before the visit concluded at the DeLoach Geological Rock Garden with a presentation on storm water best practices.  

Throughout the three-day visit, NCDPI and U.S. Department of Education staff visited three elementary schools, one middle school, two high schools, a charter school, a lab school and a university to celebrate the schools and their achievement as Green Ribbon honorees. 

More information on the US Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools can be found here. The list of all selected schools, districts, colleges, and universities, as well as their nomination packages, can be accessed here. To review a report featuring highlights on honorees, click here.  

Additional information on the federal recognition award can be found here