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St. Peter’s earns Maryland Green School Award

St. Peter’s School has a new name: 2024 Maryland Green School.

The Maryland Association for Environmental & Outdoor Education (MAEOE) recently recognized the Olney school with the honor.

Maryland Green School certification is awarded to school’s that demonstrate and document a continuous effort to integrate sustainable environmental management practices, environmental education curriculum, professional development opportunities, and community engagement into their daily operations.

The award signifies a school’s commitment to developing stewards of the earth and reducing the school’s impact.

“St. Peter’s is proud to be the first school in the Archdiocese of Washington to receive this recognition. Stewardship of our planet aligns with the tenets of our Catholic faith,” said Principal Lauren DeZinno.

Parent volunteer Margaret Giron spearheaded the effort to become a Green School.

Starting in 2021, Giron collaborated with faculty members Kelly Nichols and Kim Caldeira, parent volunteers and the Student Environmental Club to plan and implement practices that promote stewardship of our earth.

Over the last two years, all grade levels have participated in environmental projects. Activities have included creating eco-friendly cleaning products, campus and community trash clean-ups, recycling drives, building bird and insect habitats, a Walk N’ Roll to School Day, using and maintaining outdoor learning spaces, and planning, designing and installing a rain garden.

“With all the scientific data we have today, integrating environmental awareness and stewardship into as many aspects of our curriculum across the board is simply responsible education,” said Nichols, Faculty Green Team lead and second grade teacher. “Being good stewards of the Earth aligns with tenets of our Catholic faith and beliefs.”

Caldeira, Environmental Club lead and middle school science teacher, added, “It has been a delight to see the spirit of stewardship taking root in our students. As Catholic Christians, our faith reminds us of our responsibility to care for the Earth, which is our common home and the inheritance we share with all of humanity. Even with all the distractions of modern life, our students’ love and concern for our environment remains a vigorous source of inspiration to the adults in our school community.”

MAOEO established the Maryland Green School Program in 1999 to allow schools and their communities to evaluate their efforts in environmental sustainability. There are 654 active Maryland Green Schools, which is 34 percent of all Maryland schools.

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