Green Schools

USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter supports sustainability in schools through a number of programs:

Green Schools Quest: A Project Based Challenge

The Green Schools Quest is an annual project-based challenge to PreK-12 schools to devise and implement no/low cost sustainability projects at their school over a six month period of time with the help of a community volunteer who serves as a Green Mentor. Schools document their impact, such as energy savings or increased biodiversity, during the project and submit their project’s process and impact for judging by an impartial panel at the conclusion. Cash Awards and trophies are presented to winning teams in Elementary, Middle and High School Divisions and five Spotlight Awards are presented across the age divisions.

Missouri Green Schools

Missouri Green Schools is a statewide recognition program which focuses on supporting schools in taking a systems-based approach to identify and advance practices throughout their campuses, educational programming, and school culture that reduce environmental impact, improve health and wellness, and provide place-based education. Additional support is provided for schools that have 60% or more of their students qualifying for free or reduced-priced lunch, including one-on-one support to set goals and track progress and small grant opportunities. In the state of Missouri, Missouri Green Schools serves as the conduit for the U.S Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award. Missouri Green Schools is a joint program of the U.S. Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter the Missouri Environmental Education Association. More info at

U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS)

Since 2016, Missouri Green Schools has partnered with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to nominate Missouri schools for the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award. ED-GRS recognition award honors schools and school districts. Both Missouri Green Schools and ED-GRS are aligned with and recognize schools for their achievements across all three “pillars” of a green school:

1) reduced environmental impacts and costs;
2) improved health and wellness of schools, students and staff;
3) effective environmental and sustainability education.

Schools must document high level of performance across ALL 3 pillars. Learn more about applying for this prestigious award as well as past Missouri honorees here.

Sustainability Institute for Educators

An annual three day conference (held in June) for K-12 teachers and admin produced in partnership by Webster University, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis Zoo, USGBC-Missouri Gateway, Madison County Planning & Development, MICDS, Missouri Environmental Education Association (MEEA) and St. Louis County Department of Public Health. At the Institute, we define sustainability in an educational context, present examples of K-12 schools and resources for sustainability, and provide working sessions for educators to plan for how they can bring sustainability into their classrooms and institutions. A different theme is established each year and is explored through the lens of Education for Sustainability (EfS).

The graphic above illustrates how these programs interact with and complement one another. Click to view larger image.