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Congressman Yarmuth Announces ‘Green Ribbon Award' for Cane Run Elementary School

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) announced that Cane Run Elementary School has received the U.S. Department of Education’s “Green Ribbon Award.” The award recognizes schools that focus on environmental literacy in their curricula.

Cane Run Elementary was one of 64 U.S. schools honored for their exemplary efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education, including civics and green career pathways.

“Environmental stewardship is essential to a well-rounded citizenry and a 21st century economy,” Congressman Yarmuth said. “Cane Run Elementary has already retrofitted its facilities to become greener. With environmental programs focused on students and their families, they’ve become a national model in creating a greener future for our community.”

“Cane Run Elementary is dedicated to providing a rich, progressive and interactive curriculum with the outdoor classroom site and environmental programs that allow students to develop appreciation for and stewardship of the environment,” said Dr. Gwendolyn Goffner, Principal of Cane Run Elementary. “This award is significant because it recognizes the hard work and commitment Cane Run Elementary School has to growing a more sustainable green school community.”

All Cane Run students participate in embedded environmental lessons – frequently set in the outdoor classroom. The school implements “Math in the Garden,” where gardening serves as a framework for measurement, insects, plant structures, and life cycles. 

Students use math skills and tools to design, build and plant a pizza garden where each “slice” represents the amount of that ingredient necessary for a pizza. Problem solving and measurement skills allow students to design and make individual bricks to outline the garden. 

Students put their engineering strategies to work building a greenhouse over a raised bed garden to prolong the growing season. They experiment with technology to design a large, butterfly-shaped, native plant garden to attract butterflies, bees, and birds. The garden club and environmental club use food from the raised beds and large garden to learn healthy cooking and eating practices and to share their labors with local senior citizens.

Family math and science nights at Cane Run include a free healthy meal, environmental teaching and learning stations, and math and science activities for each grade level. Parents are also offered resume-writing assistance. 

“Today’s honorees are modeling a comprehensive approach to being green,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “They are demonstrating ways schools can simultaneously cut costs; improve health, performance, and equity; and provide an education geared toward the jobs of the future. In fact, the selected districts are saving millions of dollars as a result of their greening efforts. And the great thing is that the resources these honorees are using are available for free to all schools.”

Cane Run uses resources from the Kentucky Association of Environmental Education, the North American Association for Environmental Education, National Science Teachers Association, KY Green and Healthy Schools, USDA Agriculture in the Classroom, the Center for Green Schools at the USGBC in its environmental education curriculum.

Cane Run Elementary has also been retrofitted to include geothermal heating and cooling, with geothermal well fields supplying 45 heat pumps and kitchen walk-in refrigeration units. The school has also added occupancy sensors and natural light enhancing Solatubes. With the aid of these facilities upgrades and behavioral and operational changes, the school was ENERGY STAR certified in 2010. 

More information on the federal “Green Ribbon Award” can be found here