Students Making A Positive Impact with Green Schools Quest

Ladue Horton High School Green Schools Quest

By Fredericka Brandt,
USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator

The annual Green Schools Quest project-based challenge of the US Green Building Council – Missouri Gateway Chapter continues to grow every year. For the 2019-2020 Green Schools Quest, 68 schools and 68 mentors across the gateway region participated in implementing no or low-cost sustainability projects at their schools, because Where We Learn Matters! With the help of school leads, mentors, and volunteers, students devised and accomplished a diverse range of creative projects all focused on making a positive impact. 

Multiple schools focused on more than one project area; from food gardens, native habitats and biodiversity, stormwater management, outdoor learning spaces, to solid waste reduction, recycling and material reuse, composting, transportation, indoor environmental quality, energy conservation, and even behavioral change campaigns and sustainability plan development! Each project was unique and 12 of the 43 projects submitted for judging focused on environmental justice, which was this year’s Focus of the Year. Each year, USGBC-MGC designates a particular theme as the Focus of the Year. Projects that integrate the optional theme are in the running for the Focus of the Year award. This year’s winner: a combined effort of two schools in North St. Louis – Bryan Hill Elementary & Columbia Elementary of the St. Louis Public School District. Their art teacher, Britt Tate along with mentors Jenn DeRose (Missouri Coalition for the Environment) and Maurice Muia (Natural Resources Defense Council) used an actuarial science approach to tackle a district wide issue: polystyrene foam trays. Their ‘SLPS Can’t Afford Styrofoam Anymore’ project impacted over 21,000 students as they determined multiple solutions to minimize the district’s carbon footprint and the impact excessive poly-foam has on communities in north city. 

Collectively this year’s Green Schools Quest participants and their projects implemented had a positive impact on more than 45,000 students, faculty, and community members. That’s 12,000 more individuals impacted by no or low-cost sustainability projects than last year’s 2018-2019 Green Schools Quest! 

Among the 15 schools receiving cash prizes and trophies, five entrants are first-time participants:

The 2019–2020 Green Schools Quest Winners Are:

Elementary School 

  • 1st – A Green Wave of Change, Crestwood Elementary (Lindbergh School District)
  • 2nd – Transportation Pollution Solution, St. Margaret of Scotland (St. Louis)
  • 3rd – Brown School Waste Warriors, Brown Elementary (Hazelwood School District)

Middle School 

  • 1st – RMS Earthletes Make Long-Lasting Change, Rogers Middle School (Affton School District)
  • 2nd – Making a Difference in Our School, The St. Michael School of Clayton
  • 3rd – Cafeteria Waste Reduction, Maplewood Richmond Heights Middle School (MRH School District)

High School 

  • 1st – Impact Challenge, Principia Upper School (Town and Country)
  • 2nd – “Not I, but We” Environmental Justice, St. Joseph’s Academy (St. Louis)
  • 3rd – Reintroducing Recycling: Students Reduce Cafeteria Waste, Ladue Horton Watkins High School (Ladue School District)

Our 2019-2020 Green Schools Quest Spotlight Awards Go To:

  • Rookie of the Year – KIPP Victory Garden, KIPP Victory Academy (KIPP Public Charter School, St. Louis)
  • Sustainability Champion – Bye Bye Bags, W.W. Keysor Elementary (Kirkwood School District)
  • Focus of the Year — Environmental Justice – SLPS Can’t Afford Styrofoam Anymore, Bryan Hill Elementary & Columbia Elementary (St. Louis Public School District)
  • Judges’ Choice – Green Team, Truman Elementary (Meramec Valley R-III School District
  • Innovation – Going Beyond, Sunrise R-IX Elementary (Sunrise R-IX School District)

Learn more about the Green Schools Quest and this year’s projects at www.greenschoolsquest.org.