September 8, 2022 – Ohio EPA Director Laurie A. Stevenson has recognized Clay High School and St. Francis DeSales High School with the Branch Level of Encouraging Environmental Excellence in Education (E4) Award. The program has three levels: root, branch, and leaf, based on how many of the “Three R” environmental principles (reduce, reuse, and recycle) the school is incorporating in its curriculum or school activities.
Clay High School (Lucas County) has hosted an active environmental club for 10 years. During this time, students have educated their classmates on recycling and led the school’s cardboard recycling program. The club has developed a partnership with the local recycling center providing tours, recycling education, and job-skills training to students.
The school also has made strong efforts to reduce energy use within the building by upgrading all light fixtures to LEDs. Approximately 70 percent of the electricity used in the school is generated on-site by a 900KW wind turbine; this percentage continues to increase as the school converts to more efficient lighting.
St. Francis DeSales High School (Franklin County) provides students with a variety of opportunities to help promote recycling and the importance of sustainability through its environmental club. This year, the club completed projects ensuring every classroom has a recycling bin and has been focusing on improving composting and recycling in the cafeteria. The club also attends the annual EcoSummit hosted by the Columbus Zoo where students present sustainable designs.
St. Francis DeSales also has made strong efforts to reduce waste and energy use within the building by embracing the use of technology to reduce paper (students complete most of their assignments digitally). LEDs and motion sensors also have been installed in several areas of the school to reduce use of electricity.
“If you’re looking for schools that foster in students the ethics of sustainability and environmental leadership, Clay and St. Francis DeSales High Schools are tremendous examples,” Director Stevenson said. “The very buildings where these students spend thousands of hours during their high school years are structural and instructional, daily reminders that we can be (and should be) intentional in protecting our environment for all generations to come.”
The E4 program recognizes K-12 public or private schools for achievements in environmental stewardship and efforts to educate students on environmental topics. Schools can apply online at any time by going to Ohio EPA’s Customer Support Center and creating an account.
The recognition program is based on the Encouraging Environmental Excellence program, which recognizes businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies for going above and beyond compliance with requirements while demonstrating environmental excellence.
More information about the E4 program is available on Ohio EPA’s website, or by contacting the Ohio EPA Office of Compliance Assistance and Pollution Prevention at 1-800-329-7518.