Green Ribbon Schools

The U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools honors America’s public and private elementary, middle and high schools for their efforts toward improving student health and achievement and reducing their environmental impact. A Green Ribbon Schools award will represent a healthy and sustainable school, recognized by parents, students, staff and governments at federal, state and local levels as an exemplary model of achievement in sustainability, health and environmental education.

Green Ribbon Schools sets a standard of excellence for all schools to become energy efficient and healthy learning spaces that provide environmental education. National studies and existing green schools programs indicate that the benefits of the Green Ribbon Schools program will include increased energy cost savings, improved student and staff health and productivity, enhanced critical thinking skills, improved student performance, reduced behavioral problems, and increased student engagement.

2024 Application Information

Schools, school districts, and institutions of higher education demonstrating high achievement in the elements of each of the three Green Ribbon Schools Pillars (see below) and are eligible for consideration.

  1. Pillar 1: Reduced Environmental Impact and Costs
  2. Pillar 2: Improved Health and Wellness
  3. Pillar 3: Effective Environmental and Sustainability Education

Applications for the 2024 School Year—Due January 29, 2024

Notes on filling out the application:

Feel free to provide documentation for any of the application categories but the application may not exceed 19 pages total including photos.  In addition, some sections have “word count” limits that must be followed. Send your application by email as a Word document to:

Download NDE Full Ribbon Letter and Application Information
Download the Green Ribbon Application


This recognition award, which is intended to highlight and share promising practices, is non-renewable.  After your practices have been recognized and highlighted, we want to share the work of other schools, districts, and post-secondary institutions.   ED-GRS is not a certification, tracking, or rating program.  For this reason, each entity is only eligible once and the award is granted for one year only.  This is why the award title must always be stated with the year in which it was selected.  There are, however, many annual benchmarking programs on the ED-GRS Green Strides page that you may find helpful in tracking your continued progress.  For the same reason, schools within districts that have already been recognized for this work district-wide, should document progress for every school in the district beyond that which the district has already been honored .

You can find additional resources and webinars on Green Strides to support your efforts and those of the other schools with which you work.  We particularly encourage you to consult the Green Strides Webinar Series, with offerings weekly.  Be sure to stay up to date by signing up for the latest in green schools news, resources and opportunities with the USDE’s Green Ribbon Schools newsletter.

Public Information and Education Mini-Grant Awards (PIE Grants) are a potential funding source for initiatives fitting the Nebraska Environmental Trust Board Funding Categories in habitat, surface and ground water, waste management, air quality, and soil management.

Updated January 11, 2024 10:02am