Linton Springs and Runnymede elementary schools have been designated Maryland Green Schools, bringing the total in Carroll County to 19.
The Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE) doles out the Maryland Green School designations. Schools must submit an application that shows a “a school-wide commitment to environmental literacy.” The schools must document things like including environmental education in their curriculum, reducing waste and emissions from the building, and forming community partnerships.
Sandymount Elementary School, which has been participating in the program for 14 years, renewed its certification this year. According to the MAEOE website, schools should seek to re-certify every four years. Schools that successfully recertify for a third time — as Sandymount has now done —achieve “sustainable” Green School status.
Sykesville Middle School was the first Carroll County school to earn this designation, in 1999. The program is open to both private and public schools.
According to a news release from Carroll County Public Schools, Maryland Green Schools are part of a network that contributes to conserving water, reducing energy use and recycling materials. Schools took on projects like creating natural habitats, planting native plants, and cleaning streambanks to protect water quality in the state.
In addition to motivating a school community to work together for environmental goals, a Maryland Green School designation can be appealing on grant applications for other school projects, though the designation itself does not include funding.
In the 2019-20 school year, the Green Schools saved a combined 648,415 gallons of water; reduced energy use by 2,157,757 kwh; recycled 1,729,076 pounds of material, preventing waste from going to a landfill; created 25,961 square feet of natural habitat; planted 3,203 native plants, including shrubs and trees; and cleaned 86,197 square feet of streambanks to protect the state’s water quality, according to the release.