Local schools recognized for environmental education efforts

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RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Every K-12 school in the Charlottesville City Schools division and a couple of independent schools in the area have been honored for their environmental education.

One of those schools has been earning the Virginia Naturally School Recognition Award for 20 years, which is as long as the program has existed.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries announced Wednesday the list of 67 schools across the Commonwealth that were recognized for their environmental and stewardship efforts in the 2018-2019 school year.

According to a release, the goal of the program is to recognize exemplary efforts undertaken by schools to increase environmental awareness and stewardship in students.

These schools represent the work of more than 43,300 students, more than 3,400 teachers, and 381 combined years of environmental education work.

“Environmental education provides a unique opportunity for experiential learning, which allows students to dig deeper on what they have already learned, and apply knowledge to their daily lives,” said Secretary of Education Atif Qarni. “These types of learning opportunities are critical for our students to build connections with their local environments and communities so that they are equipped to be stewards of tomorrow.”

In Charlottesville, Charlottesville High, Walker Upper Elementary, Burnley-Moran Elementary, Clark Elementary, Greenbrier Elementary, Jackson-Via Elementary, Johnson Elementary, and Venable Elementary schools have all been recognized for the third year.

Buford Middle Schools has earned the recognition for two years.

Village School, an independent in the city, has also earned the honor for three years.

But North Branch School, an independent school in Afton, is one of only three schools in Virginia that have been earning this recognition for 20 years. The other two schools are John Wayland Elementary School in Rockingham County and Peasley Middle School in Gloucester County.

Other schools have also been recognized in the counties of Loudoun, Fairfax, Goochland, Shenandoah, Chesterfield, Prince William, Charlotte, Franklin, Scott, Roanoke, Fauquier, Henrico, and Pittsylvania, as well as the cities of Williamsburg, Bristol, Norfolk, Hopewell, Newport News, Chesapeake, and Virginia Beach.

DGIF says it wants more schools to participate in this program and it is looking forward to the program growing with support from state leaders.

Schools that are working within their communities, with resource agencies and businesses to include education about the environment in their curriculum can apply for the award.

For more information about the Virginia Naturally School Recognition Program, click on the link in the Related Links box.

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