BOSTON — Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides today recognized 22 energy and environmental education programs at schools and nonprofits throughout Massachusetts that have been selected as recipients of the 26th Annual Secretary’s Awards for Excellence in Energy and Environmental Education.
This award program publicly recognizes formal and informal educators who have been nominated by a parent, colleague, student, school administrator or community member for their excellence providing energy and environmental education to their students. It is an opportunity for state and local partners to come together to share the success of these environmental education leaders and highlight the importance and benefits of integrating environmental science programs into the school curriculum.
“Fostering a learning environment that not only engages today’s youth, but also prepares them to address the issues impacting the world, such as climate change, is a critical priority for our Administration,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We commend these educators for their tireless work and are proud to support them as they continue in their efforts to teach environmental and energy issues.”
“These unique and advanced environmental and energy programs serve as great examples of what many of our students are working on, and learning from, across the Commonwealth,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “I applaud these programs and thank both the schools and nonprofits for ensuring a curriculum that is inspiring, appealing, and exciting for participating students.”
A total of 22 awardees were recognized this year: fourteen public schools, two private schools, and six nonprofit partner organizations. Massachusetts K-12 public and private schools are eligible to receive award funding; nominated schools competed for $5,000 in awards to use towards the continuation of energy and environmental education in schools. Non-profit partner organizations are not eligible to receive award funding; instead, these organizations receive a Secretary’s Citation to acknowledge and celebrate their contributions in environmental science education.
Applications were reviewed and scored by the Secretary’s Advisory Group on Energy and Environmental Education (SAGEE), a group of environmental leaders from across the Commonwealth, including leaders from non-profits, government agencies and universities and colleges. SAGEE is committed to increasing environmental literacy in the Commonwealth by identifying and promoting best practices to foster environmental civic engagement and responsibility among community members. Based on their application score, schools received awards between $250 – $350.
“Energy and environmental issues can be complex areas of study, but thoughtful and passionate educators can make these issues really engaging for our students and help inspire the next generation of environmental stewards,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “By getting students interested in the environment and energy sectors now, we are building tomorrow’s leaders and better preparing them to tackle the critical environmental challenges facing our state.”
Since 2008, the Massachusetts Environmental Trust has funded the Secretary’s Excellence in Energy and Environmental Education Awards. MET is a grant program within the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs supporting environmental programs throughout Massachusetts. Proceeds generated through the sale of three specialty environmentally themed license plates afford MET the ability to fund projects that protect and restore the Commonwealths’ natural resources.
“We are proud to fund this award program through the sale of our whale tail license plate,” said Massachusetts Environmental Trust Director Kim Tilas. “It is wonderful to encourage environmental stewardship among our Commonwealths’ children. On behalf of the Trustees, we would like to congratulate all of the dedicated, hardworking educators that have been recognized this year!”
To purchase a Striped Bass Conservation plate, Right Whale & Roseate Terns plate or Leaping Brook Trout plate, click here.
Traditionally, this award ceremony takes place each spring in the State House Hall of Flags; however, this year a virtual presentation was aired to recipients to recognize the outstanding efforts of educators and share in the success of environmental education leaders within our communities. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 awards were suspended. Nominations received for last year’s 2020 awards prior to the program’s suspension were included in this year’s review committee and were considered for 2021 awards.
During the virtual presentation, Secretary Theoharides, SAGEE Chairwoman Kris Scopinich, and several state legislators offered their congratulations to this year’s awardees and highlighted the schools, teachers, students, and partner organizations for their outstanding innovation.
The link to this virtual awards ceremony can be found here.
Programs receiving awards this year are:
ANDOVER: Phillips Academy Andover – “Climate Café” Grades 9-12
ARLINGTON: Thompson Elementary School – “Thompson School Garden and Grounds” Grades K-5
BOSTON: Boston Public Schools – “Growing Resilience, Gardens and Grounds Program” Grades K-12
InternationalWeLoveU Foundation – “Clean World Movement”
New England Aquarium – “Gills Club”
BROOKLINE: Lawrence School – “Lawrence School Garden” Grades K-8
CHELMSFORD: Chelmsford High School – “Ecology Club” Grades 9-12
FALMOUTH: Falmouth High School – “Transcend Artists” Grades 9-12
GLOUCESTER: Seaside Sustainability Inc – “Internship Program,” “Plastic Ban Project Division”
IPSWICH: Ipswich Middle School and High School – GreenTeam “UseOne” Grades 6-12
NEW BEDFORD: Sea Lab, Marine and Aquatic Science Education Center – “Summer Session Sea Lab Program, Sea Lab Academic Year Program” Grades 3-9
NEWTON: Mason-Rice Elementary School – “GreenTeam” Grades K-5
Mount Alvernia Academy – “Energy and Environmental Programs” Grades K-5
NORTHAMPTON: Grow Food Northampton – “Grow Food Kids” Grades K – 3
PEABODY: Captain Samuel Brown Elementary School – “Brown School Goes Greener II” Grades K-5
J. Henry Higgins Middle School–“7th Grade Outdoor Classroom Learning Project” Grade 7
PITTSFIELD: Pittsfield High School Peace Jam Club – “School Composting Project” Grades 9-12
PRINCETON: Thomas Prince Middle School – “Outdoor Learning Spaces Committee” Grades K-8
SANDWICH: Sandwich STEM Academy – “Sandwich Climate Change and Coastal Resiliency Curriculum Framework” Grades 7-8
SCITUATE: Atlantic White Shark Conservancy – “Gills Club” Grades K-12
South Shore Trails – “SouthShoreTrails.com”
WALPOLE: Norfolk County Agricultural High School – “Environmental Science Department” Grades 9-12
–Massachusetts Executive Office
of Energy and Environmental Affairs
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