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.

2022-23 Participants

We’re thrilled to have over 50 schools participating in the 2022-2023 Green Schools Quest, each paired with a stellar Green Mentor. Click here to view the list of this year’s participants.

2022-23 Timeline

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 Flier & Format

Click here to view the 2022-23 GSQ Program Flier.

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).

2022-23 Focus of the Year: Climate Action

Each year, USGBC-MGC designates a “Focus of the Year” theme for the Green Schools Quest as an OPTIONAL area of focus for participants who would like to be considered for the “Focus of the Year” award. Themes are selected to reflect current issues both locally and globally.

The 2022-23 theme is Climate Action.  This document introduces the theme and highlights three key areas for taking meaningful climate action: Energy, Food, and Community Voice. To be considered for the Focus of the Year award, schools must submit 150 words or less describing how their project relates to Climate Action in their Final Submission materials. Our Connect on the Quest series will be focused on Climate Action resources and education this year.


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 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

Click here to view the GSQ Mentor Recruitment Flyer!

2022-2023 Resources for Participants

Welcome Letter
Outlines noteworthy items for 2022-2023 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.

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.

Overview of the Rainbow of Sustainability Principles

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.

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 resources presented.

The 2022-23 Connect on the Quest series will focus on resources and education surrounding Climate Action. More details on speakers and content forthcoming. Events take place virtually from 4:30-5:30pm CT. Click on the dates to register.

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 others’ projects and progress, seek suggestions/resources from fellow mentors, and provide general input on the program. Dates TBA soon.

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


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 .


or (314) 577-0225.