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North Carolina Green Schools
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The mission of the Center for the Environment’s NC Green Schools Program is to encourage, support and recognize the efforts of all NC P-12 schools that have taken strides to make their schools 21st century institutions of quality and sustainability. Additionally, the NC Green Schools Program affirms the mission statement of the Public Schools of North Carolina and works to support and enhance those goals through sustainability initiatives.


**During this time of uncertainty, the Center for the Environment and NC Green Schools are looking for ways to adapt to the challenges COVID-19 has created. NC Green Schools has always been a place to find resources and a hub for support, and now it is even more important to include ways for teachers, parents, and students to connect virtually to environmental resources. Please visit our Remote Learning resource page to plug into activities and online events from NC based organizations.**

What is a Green School?

NC Green Schools Program builds a strong foundation for all schools to strive to reach these goals.  NC Green Schools program encourages schools to get involved and start the process of becoming a green school. 

  • reduce environmental impact and costs
  • improve the health and wellness of students and staff
  • provide effective environmental and sustainability education

NC Green Schools Programs

Learning Network

Find and connect with like-minded green educators and dive deeper in topics that interest you. The learning network provides opportunities for peer-to-peer exchange and helps like-minded educators connect and share ideas, challenges and successes. Join the NC Green Schools Learning Network. 

School Resources

There are hundreds of tools and links for becoming a more sustainable, healthy campus, and it can be overwhelming to know where to start!  We have divided the resource pages by 5 NC Green School components. Explore culture and community, healthy schools, school sustainability, and curriculum integration resources. We hope that you will discover new tools to help your school become more green!

Recognition Program

By following the NC Green Schools Recognition Program and engaging in activities in at least 3 of the 5 categories of the rubric, schools can receive recognition and be awarded a certificate of accomplishment in their own state while simultaneously building their portfolio for the National Dept of Education Green Ribbon Awards.


The NC Green Schools Program is designed for North Carolina P-12 schools who want to “go green.”  We provide a network, resources, and recognition program to support students, teachers, and school communities to meet the following goals:

  • Create school grounds that enhance their use as learning environments AND add to the ecological integrity of their community,
  • Be responsible stewards of our natural resources of energy, water, air,
  • Engage life-cycle product awareness for school materials to reduce waste,
  • Build healthy and fit lives 
  • Integrate curriculum with hands-on learning and field studies that help students experience and understand the natural environment and their place in it,
  • Energize classrooms with the power of  STE(A)M,
  • Build partnerships with the community to foster mutually valuable stewardship and civic engagement opportunities,
  • Create a school philosophy and culture that embraces sustainability, encourages ongoing professional development and sparks the creativity and engagement of all its members,
  • Engage innovative ideas.

Why should your school go green?

Green schools are a great way to implement best practice education in our schools. According to a US Green Building Council Study green schools “provide measurable benefits that impact the occupants of the building and the financial bottom line” of the school and community. National Environmental Education Foundation studies show that environmental education has proven beneficial to increasing student achievement levels. The US Department of Education has expressed their commitment to green schools by developing the Green Ribbon Schools program. NC Green Schools Program builds a strong foundation for all of these goals.

North Carolina has a rich, historic connection to the environment and to building leaders for our country.  The NC Green Schools Program offers NC Schools a great opportunity to continue with their great leadership heritage by assisting schools in their green schools initiatives.  Green schools empower students and build stronger communities.


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