Green Schools Quest

The USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter is challenging public and private schools within the Chapter’s territory (Missouri and Southern Illinois) to devise and implement, with the help of Green Mentors, the most creative, effective and no- or low-cost sustainable practices for their schools. Join us as we work toward the vision: Green Schools for all within this generation!

Each school in the Green Schools Quest forms a team of student participants. Teams may be a single classroom, a student club, a grade level, or an entire school. Each team engages in their chosen sustainability project(s) between October and March, and submits their outcomes for a chance to win cash prizes.

A Green Mentor is assigned to each school to assist with ideas, documentation and community resources.

2021-22 Winners & Projects

31 schools and 28 Green Mentors participated in this year’s Quest. Click here to view a list of participants!

Learn about all of their projects by watching the 2021-22 GSQ Project Showcase & Winners video!

Three elementary, two middle, and one high school are honored as Division winners. Each receive a trophy and $300 prize. Additionally, five Spotlight Awards are presented across the age divisions. Spotlight Awardees receive $100 each.

Congratulations to our winners! Click here to see who the 2021-22 GSQ Winners are, and a description of each of their projects.

Click here to view a brief written summary of each of the 2021-22 GS projects.

2022-23 Registration

SCHOOLSClick here to register!

MENTORSClick here to register!

2022-23 Timeline

August 31, 2022Mentor Registration Due

September 15, 2022School Registration Due

October 2022 – March 2023 – Participating schools work with their Green Mentors to engage in one six-month-long sustainability project. Projects are intended to be no or low-cost and must be NEW initiatives or major expansions of existing initiatives. 

March 15, 2023 – Final Submissions Due

April 2023 – Elementary, Middle & High School Division winners and Spotlight Award winners announced

2022-23 Program Format

For the 2022-23 academic year, we will return to the traditional (pre-pandemic) format in which school/mentor teams engage in one comprehensive six-month-long project and turn in a final submission at the conclusion. (View outline of submission materials here.) Submissions are then reviewed by panel of judges using this evaluation rubric, and Division (elementary, middle, high) and Spotlight Award winners are determined. Winners receive a cash prize and/or trophy.  Participants are encouraged to integrate Rainbow of Sustainability principles into their projects (see below).

Awards

Winners are determined by panel of judges using this evaluation rubric.

  • Division Winners: cash prize & trophy
    • Elementary / Early Childhood
    • Middle School 
    • High School 
  • Spotlight Awards: cash prize
    • Rookie of the Year
    • Sustainability Champion
    • Judges’ Choice
    • Innovation
    • Focus of the Year: Climate Action

Rainbow of Sustainability Principles 

Participants can utilize the Rainbow of Sustainability as a framework for integrating sustainability principles into students’ learning and Green Schools Quest projects. Plus, participants earn extra points for integrating at least two principles into their projects, as outlined in the evaluation rubric! The principles are:

  • Importance of Place
  • Interconnectedness 
  • Respect for Limits
  • Systems Thinking & Cycles 
  • Social Justice
  • Global Citizenship

Click here to view the Rainbow of Sustainability Principles & Resources Packet.

Click here to view a presentation on how to apply the Rainbow of Sustainability tool.

Click here for an overview of the Rainbow of Sustainability principles.

Green Mentors

USGBC-MGC will assign each school a Green Mentor who will provide information, help, and encouragement as needed.

Mentor Responsibilities:

  • Fill out the Mentor Registration Form 
  • Participate in a virtual Green Mentor training
  • Pair up with a PK-12 school
  • Commit roughly 5 hours/month from Oct 2022 to March 2023
  • Provide guidance, resources, and encouragement as needed to assist students and their team sponsor as they plan and implement their chosen sustainability project(s)
  • Follow COVID precautions and procedures established by school
  • Submit two quick, online progress surveys
  • Become a USGBC-Missouri Gateway or Missouri Environmental Education Association (MEEA) Member, if you are not already

2022-23 Focus of the Year: Climate Action

Each year, USGBC-MGC designates a particular theme as the Focus of the Year. Themes are selected to reflect current issues both locally and globally.

Our Green Schools Committee has designated ‘Climate Action’ as the focus for 2022-23 and will work over the summer to create a resource guide with project ideas and resources.

2021-22 Resources for Participants

2022-23 Resources will be posted in late summer 2022.

Welcome Letter
Outlines noteworthy items for 2021-22 and includes links to resources all on one page you can bookmark and keep handy.

Video Recordings
All Green Mentors and School Leads are asked to view these recordings.

Green Mentor Checklist
A mentor-oriented checklist of actions for Getting Started and best practices for Ongoing tasks throughout the Quest.

School Lead Checklist
A school-oriented checklist of actions for Getting Started and best practices for Ongoing tasks throughout the Quest.

Ways for Mentors to Engage
Each school, project, team, and mentor is unique – so the support that a Green Mentor provides varies. This year, the additional layers of variability due to the pandemic and the adapted format will further influence how mentors engage. We recommend that the School Lead and Mentor review the ideas listed here and mutually determine the best form of support that the mentor can provide this year. A huge thanks to each of you for your flexibility as we continue to navigate this territory.

Rainbow of Sustainability Principles & Resources Packet
Explore the monthly themes, project ideas, and resources. This resource will be updated on an ongoing basis.

Final Submission Materials
View outline of all materials due March 15 here, including Final Submission Form, 5 minute max digital presentation, 1-2 page written report, self-assessment (optional, worth 5 points), and photo releases.

Photo Releases
A photo release must be submitted for every student that appears in the images included in the monthly submission forms.  Two options are available: an Individual Photo Release Form to be signed by each student’s parent/guardian, or a Certificate of School Official photo release upon which a school official certifies that the school/district has secured and has on file all appropriate image release and permission agreements and consents from parents/guardians of school children who appear in images shared by the school.

Evaluation Rubric
This rubric will solely be used to evaluate projects in the Traditional format track.

Missouri Green Schools Baseline Self-Assessment
In an effort to encourage holistic integration of school sustainability practices and better connect the Green Schools Quest with it’s sister program,
Missouri Green Schools (MGS), the MGS Baseline Self-Assessment has been introduced as a new tool. This assessment takes about 30 minutes to complete and earns schools in the Traditional track 5 points or schools in the Adapted track a bonus raffle entry.

101+ Ways to Green Your School
Perhaps your school already has a project in mind. If not, this list of ways to green your school can help you to generate ideas. Financial investment, age group, and impact areas are identified for each project listed.

Resource List
This compilation of local, regional, and national resources includes a number of non-profit organizations to consider reaching out to for assistance, and more.

Connect on the Quest
Connect on the Quest is a monthly virtual gathering centered on providing Green Schools Quest participants with opportunities to connect with each other and learn together. It is also open to educators who are not yet participating, but would like to learn about the program and sustainability projects taking place in area schools.

The 2021-22 Connect on the Quest took place as a themed speakers series. Each kicked off with two GSQ schools sharing updates on their projects. Then, a handful of organizations presented on resources they offer to support schools in their green schools endeavors. Recordings of the events are linked to below:

Mentor Meet-Ups
Each year, we host two Mentor Meet-Ups for Mentors in the Green Schools Quest. Attendance is optional. The gatherings are an opportunity to: Share updates on your project with fellow mentors, Learn about the progress other school/mentor teams are making, Seek suggestions/resources from fellow mentors if needed, and Provide general input on the program.

GSQ Educators Guide to Education for Sustainability
This Educators’ Guide aims to enhance the connection between Green Schools Quest projects and school curriculum. Many quality materials exist to support Education for Sustainability (EfS) and whole-school sustainability. This guide highlights a handful of go-to resources to get you started. Inside you’ll find:

  • Introductory guides to EfS concepts and practices.
  • Frameworks for applying the ‘Lens of Sustainability’ to your work.
  • Professional Development opportunities that incorporate all three core areas that are commonly used to define a ‘green school.’
  • Green Schools Frameworks, Programs, and Recognitions that can help your school chart a path towards whole-school sustainability.

Tips for Spreading the Good Green Word
One of the most important green actions you can take is to share what you learn with others. This document provides ten tips to help you spread the word about your efforts to green your school. Consider sharing your progress on social media, and tagging USGBC-MO Gateway! #GreenSchoolsQuest

Impact

Map of GSQ Participants (2013-14 through 2020-21)

While the immediate impact of these projects may result in energy/water savings, cleaner air, or healthier learning environments, USGBC-Missouri Gateway hopes that the Green Schools Quest will strengthen relationships between schools and the community.  We also hope to create a lasting awareness of the importance of green schools, and catalyze a movement that fosters an attitude among youth and future generations to appreciate and model sustainable practices.

The goal of the Green Schools Quest is to inspire each school to implement projects that achieve several of the following impacts:

  • Reduce carbon footprint
  • Lower school operating & maintenance costs
  • Conserve our natural resources
  • Improve the learning & teaching environment
  • Encourage students to think creatively about sustainability
  • Promote environmental stewardship in our communities
  • Increase facilities indoor air quality
  • Energize sustainable curriculum in the school systems
  • Encourage the school to be the community epicenter
  • Create a generation of environmentally conscious adults
  • Engage the business community and building industry to help students green their schools

Green Apple Day of Service – USGBC-MGC’s Green Schools Quest is part of this global initiative spearheaded by USGBC’s Center for Green Schools

This project is supported by the St. Louis-Jefferson Solid Waste Management District, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Green Building Council as well as USGBC-MGC 2017-18 Green Schools Champion Sponsors: Ameren Missouri and St. Louis County Department of Public Health,  and Green Schools Supporter Sponsors: Innovative Technology Education Fund and Trane .

QUESTIONS? Contact USGBC- MGC at usgbc-mogateway@mobot.org

or (314) 577-0225.