Journey School in Aliso Viejo won a federal Green Ribbon Award Monday, making it the first school to do so in Orange County.
The school won thanks to its five gardens, zero-emissions field trips and classroom topics that teach composting, harvesting rainwater and many other eco-themed subjects.
U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools is a federal recognition program that started in September 2011. Journey is a free charter school and also the county's only Waldorf-inspired public school.
The school was one of four from California to win a Green Ribbon this year.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said the Green Ribbon winners enrich their students' lives:
Students who have had the chance to improve the air, or grow a vegetable, or capture the rain will never look at the world the same way again. I hope all California students get this chance to learn how to protect the Earth and all those who live here.
Here are some other ways Journey shows its green stripes:
- They partnered with Tanaka Farms, which delivers baskets of fresh organic produce weekly for faculty, students, and parents.
- Kindergarten students prepare daily organic snacks that include organic fruits or vegetables, grains such as quinoa, and fresh bread.
- Eco-leadership projects: Eighth-graders create and build projects to benefit the school and local community. Fifty percent of the projects last year involved green technologies (solar panels, electric bikes, plastic bag ban/reduction, etc.)
Since being founded in 2000, Journey has tripled in size. It grew from 90 students in the first year to 298 in the 2011-2012 school year.
The Journey School moved from San Clemente High School in 2004-05.
What do you think of Journey School's latest honor? Tell us in the comments below.