The Obama Administration recently named Longfellow Elementary School among 78 schools to receive first-ever national Green Ribbon awards for reducing environmental impact, promoting health and ensuring high-quality environmental and outdoor education.
“We’re all so excited and honored,” said Longfellow Principal Laurie Murrin.
Through Longfellow’s lunchtime and classroom recycling programs and other efforts, the school has diverted more than 100,000 pounds of trash from landfills over the past two years. The daily recycling of food wrappers, juice pouches and other items has become second nature at Longfellow, where students diligently separate their trash into recycling bins.
“It’s become part of our campus culture,” Murrin said.
In addition to recycling, Longfellow Green Team volunteers deliver unused cold foods and milk to Food Finders, a local food bank distributor, on a daily basis. Students participate in a Walk to School Wednesday program. Volunteers hold a monthly Uniform Swap, and the school has a new Junior Green Team of fourth and fifth graders.
Like other schools in the Long Beach Unified School District, Longfellow also is Energy Star certified for efficiency, and it participates in the district’s SHAPE California nutrition education program. Longfellow has an expanded outdoor physical education program, courtyard garden and outdoor science lab, fruit trees, vegetable beds and composting area.
"Environmental and outdoor education play a central role in providing children with a well-rounded education, helping prepare them for the jobs of the future," U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in announcing the award. "U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools demonstrate compelling examples of the ways schools can help children build real-world skill sets, cut school costs, and provide healthy learning environments."
Longfellow was among four California schools to win the top award from the U.S. Department of Education.