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Press Release

Friday, September 24, 2010

DEP Press Office
(850) 245-2112

DEP Announces Fifteen Finalists for the 2010 Governor's Serve to Preserve: Green Schools Awards

~ Florida schools awarded for environmental excellence in education ~

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), in conjunction with the Florida Department of Education (DOE), Florida’s Foundation, the Collins Center for Public Policy’s Sustainable Florida Program and the Florida Association of School Administrators, today announced the finalists for the 2010 Governor’s Serve to Preserve: Green Schools Awards. For the second consecutive year, partners selected 15 finalists from schools throughout the state that are dedicated to learning, practicing and promoting habits that will make Florida’s future more environmentally friendly.

“I applaud all 15 finalists who are doing their part to make Florida a leader in environmental protection,” said DEP Office of Environmental Education Director Greg Ira. “Teaching students the importance of conserving water, energy and reducing waste promotes environmental stewardship and also saves schools money, like the 53 million kilowatt-hours of energy saved by Florida schools this year alone, thanks to green initiatives.”

Three finalists were selected in each of five categories – students, schools, teachers, classrooms and school districts that have implemented resource-saving projects. One finalist per category will be chosen as the winner, receiving cash awards and certificates.

“Florida’s schools are the perfect setting to cultivate a spirit of energy efficiency and conservation, and I’m proud to see our finalists using their classrooms and schools to their fullest potential,” said Florida Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith. “By recognizing educators and students for their efforts through this wonderful awards program, we are inspiring further conservation activities and helping to build a greener, healthier world for all.”

The finalists for the 2010 Governor’s Serve to Preserve: Green Schools Awards include:

Student finalists

  • Madeline Cowen: a student at Coral Gables Senior High in Coral Gables, Miami-Dade County
  • Nicholas Valdes: a student at Miami Springs Middle School in Miami Springs, Miami-Dade County
  • Erich Christian: a student at Oak Hall School in Gainesville, Alachua County

Class Finalists

  • Peter Jordan’s class at Ocoee High School in Ocoee, Orange County
  • Deborah Pate’s class at A.K. Suter Elementary in Pensacola, Escambia County
  • Judy Der’s class at J.S. Robinson Elementary in Plant City, Hillsborough County

Teacher finalists

  • Linda Gordon: a teacher at Imagine Charter Schools at Weston in Weston, Broward County
  • Pamela Krauss: a teacher at South Plantation High School in Plantation, Broward County
  • Susan Carney: a teacher at Ozona Elementary in Trinity, Pinellas County

School finalists

  • Pine Jog Elementary School in West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County
  • Palm Harbor Middle School in Palm Harbor, Pinellas County
  • Learning Gate Community School in Lutz, Hillsborough County

School District Finalists

  • Broward County School District
  • Pasco County School District
  • Pinellas County School District

Out of the nearly 60 applications received, the total cumulative impact of projects implemented from all applicants resulted in a savings of more than $1.1 million, 34,000 gallons of water and nearly 56 million kilowatt-hours of energy. That is enough to fill 680 bathtubs with water and power more than 5,000 homes for an entire year. See a more detailed description of the finalists’ projects here: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/secretary/ed/schools/finalists.htm.

Winners for the second annual Green School Awards will be announced at an awards banquet on Oct. 12, 2010, at 6:00 p.m., in conjunction with the annual Sustainable Florida Conference at the Palm Beach Gardens Marriott. Sponsors include the Florida Lottery, Publix, Comcast and Florida Agriculture in the Classroom Inc. To learn more about the event and to purchase tickets, visit http://www.collinscenter.org/events/event_details.asp?id=123419

Developed as part of the 2008 Energy and Economic Development Legislation (HB7135), the Governor’s Serve to Preserve Green Schools Awards is an annual event that promotes and rewards conservation efforts by students, teachers and school administrators. Eligible projects demonstrate significant ways to save and conserve water, energy and reduce waste. To learn more about the Governor’s Serve to Preserve: Green Schools Awards, visit http://www.dep.state.fl.us/secretary/ed