Green Schools

Green Schools 

Green Schools is a program of the USGBC West Michigan Chapter that teams together with the community to engage students, teachers, and parents in service learning projects across West Michigan. Our goal is to help create healthy and sustainable learning environments for future generations.

Green Apple Day of Service

Every year the West MI chapter leads a Green Apple Day of Service project. The Green Apple Day of Service gives parents, teachers, students, companies and local organizations the opportunity to transform all schools into healthy, safe and productive learning environments through local service projects. This is a great opportunity to engage the community in our efforts towards a better future.

The USGBC West MI chapter has partnered with the West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC) and Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS) to improve the grounds and manage a stormwater issue at GRPS’ Burton Elementary/Middle School. The is a continued project from last years Green Apple Day of Service in which the USGBC came together with partner organizations to bring a tree planting and education day GRPS’ Burton Elementary/Middle School. This was phase one of the phase two project.

GRPS- Burton

To address the issue at Burton Elementary/Middle School we will move into phase two of the project. WMEAC, USGBC-WM, Porous Pave, Fenview Design and other partners are coming together to make site improvements, such as a rain garden, tree plantings, and native gardens. We started last fall with a tree planting event. These improvements will reduce stormwater runoff, improve water quality, and enhance the curb appeal of the school. Additionally, this project will provide an on-site teaching tool for Burton Middle teachers participating in WMEAC’s Teach for the Watershed program.

While GRPS is the current focus of the Green Schools Program, the USGBC is always looking for other educational projects in the community to get involved in. If you have a school in need of a Beautification project, contact the USGBC West Michigan Chapter for volunteers and support.

GRPS students, parents, staff and volunteers join together to beautify Burton Elementary/Middle School.

GRPS Hack-a-thon

On February 12, 2016 nearly 50 professionals from the following backgrounds; architects, engineers of all types, construction managers, facility planning and managers, landscape designers, and interior designers, gathered together to brainstorm about providing healthy spaces for students to learn, specifically for students of Grand Rapids Public Schools.

A Hack-a-thon follows a specific process which will be used to identify options for GRPS to consider.  The group was split up into seven teams who were assigned one of seven school buildings that GRPS will be renovating or constructing.  Carefully chosen facilitators lead each team through several rounds of brainstorming starting with a vision of what green schools may look like 100 years from now.  Each round they brought the ideas closer to reality, closer to what they may look like tomorrow or next year.

The goal for GRPS was to not only glean ideas from the day about green schools but have the hope of integrating some of them into their design and construction policies.

If you’re interested in participating in the USGBC Green Schools program contact Program Coordinator, Renae Hesselink Email:

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