USGBC's Connect the Dots: Green Schools Challenge program challenges K–12 schools across Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland and West Virginia to develop and implement the most creative, effective, no- or low-cost sustainable practices for their schools and communities.
Any school sustainability initiative can be a Connect the Dots project! Projects can engage the entire school, a grade level or a single classroom. Schools are matched with volunteer mentors who help plan projects and make connections to environmental partners, resources and subject matter experts.
Participating schools can target projects over the course of the school year that aim to lower school operating maintenance costs, improve indoor air quality and/or conserve natural resources. Schools are encouraged to register their projects as part of USGBC’s annual Green Apple Day of Service campaign to access additional funding and project planning resources. Past projects have included:
- Implementation of schoolwide recycling and composting
- Energy audits
- Installation of outdoor gardens and rainwater collection barrels
- Environmental awareness assemblies and tours
The schools that most effectively meet this challenge are rewarded for their achievements at a ceremony around the tie of Earth Day. Participation requires a final project report, due at the end of March. Check out the 2016–2017 project participants and award winners.
Connect the Dots is right for you if
- You’re a teacher or administrator with an interest in advocating for school sustainability and aren't sure where to start.
- You’re a school staff member with a great classroom sustainability project in mind that could use some help taking ideas to action.
- You’re a building/design professional looking to give back to your community and share your knowledge with the next generation.
- You’re a parent with expertise in green building and want to promote a better learning environment for your local school.
Sign up to be a volunteer mentor by October 13. The deadline to register your school to participate the same date.