Habitat learning, sustainability efforts hoist Castle Rock Elementary to Green Flag honor
CASTLE ROCK – Recently Castle Rock Elementary School (CRE) became the fourth school in the Douglas County School District to receive the prestigious Green Flag Award.
Like many other Green Flag schools, CRE students have proudly led efforts to increase recycling and cut down on the use of electricity in the building. Principal Kelly Ursetta, however, says it was the school’s habitat and the way that they tie it into student learning that captured the attention of Eco-Schools USA during their visits.
“Our habitat makes us a very unique and exciting school to be at,” explained Ursetta. “My kids absolutely love habitat education.”
On a regular basis CRE students are given the opportunity to connect their grade level projects to
the area, making it a central part of the student’s learning.
“They’re out there daily,” Ursetta added. “When kids interact with nature, it is really exciting to watch.”
The students maintain the habitat and are even working with the Town of Castle Rock Parks and Open Space department to expand their paths, so connect with the trail system in the adjoining open space.
The school’s focus on sustainability on school grounds, as well as inside the building was recognized, when Eco Schools USA announced Castle Rock had received the Green Flag Award.
CRE is the thirty-third in the nation and fifth in Colorado to earn the award, which is the highest recognition Eco-Schools gives to schools around the globe.
The other Douglas County Green Flag Schools include:
- Copper Mesa Elementary
- Flagstone Elementary
- Heritage Elementary
“I’m extremely proud of my kids and teachers,” said Ursetta.
About the Eco-Schools
Eco-Schools is an internationally acclaimed program that provides a framework to help educators integrate sustainable principles throughout their schools and curriculum. The Eco-Schools program strives to model environmentally sound practices, provide support for greening the curriculum and enhance science and academic achievement.
The program, which is being implemented in more than 50 countries around the world, is designed in a way that:
- Improves academic performance, especially in science and math
- Leads to financial savings for schools
- Decreases the school's carbon footprint through practical solutions that reduce energy and water consumption
- Reduces school waste and conserves natural resources
- Encourages student environmental awareness and stewardship
- Increases parental involvement
- Helps students and teachers develop stronger relationships with their communities
- Develops national and international links
In the United States it is hosted by the National Wildlife Federation.
More information about Eco-Schools USA and the Green Flag Award may be found at www.nwf.org/Eco-Schools-USA/Become-an-Eco-School/Awards.aspx.