Altamont Creek Elementary Named 2022 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School
August 30, 2022 - Livermore, CA - The Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District is proud to announce that Altamont Creek Elementary School (ACES) received a 2022 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. this summer. Altamont Creek is one of only 27 schools, five school districts, and four postsecondary institutions from across the country to be recognized. The honor comes after the school received a top Green Achiever award as part of the 2022 California Green Ribbon School recognitions earlier this year by the California Department of Education (CDOE).
The CDOE nominated ACES for the national award based on its successful efforts in creating a school culture focused on environmental sustainability and education. In 2015, Altamont Creek implemented an extensive five-year sustainability plan, led by former Energy and Conservation Coordinator, David Darlington, that included a framework for addressing energy, solid waste, carbon emissions, water usage, transportation, and student and staff safety. An initial project included an on-site photovoltaic system that now generates 95% of Altamont Creek’s annual energy. In 2017, using state and local grant funding, ACES worked in partnership with the Alameda County Waste Management Authority to develop a model schoolwide solid waste program that implemented sharing tables to reduce food waste, developed composting practices, conducted waste audits, and provided donations of excess food to local food pantries.
“To be recognized at the national level tells us that our vision and plan that was started more than seven years ago continues to grow, expand, and make a significant impact. This gives us great motivation to continue our efforts. We hope to inspire other schools to make environmental education and sustainability part of their culture and educational experience for students,” shared Principal Andrea Tapia.
Additional highlights of the school’s work include an “idle-free zone” for all vehicles coming on the school grounds, and the development of an outdoor learning space featuring a 2,900-square-foot main garden, a “Bay-friendly” National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Certified Wildlife Habitat, an Audubon bird habitat, and a “bird cam” that allows students to view bird feeders and the garden from the inside of a classroom.
“Sustainability has been an ongoing focus over the years at Altamont Creek and in our school district. I am very proud of our entire school staff and community for putting students first and encouraging and engaging students in real world challenges and sustainable practices,” expressed Fenna Gatty, ACES Science Specialist.
The U.S. Department of Green Ribbon Schools Program was first implemented in 2012 in response to a multi-organizational petition requesting that the U.S. Department of Education honor schools for their sustainable facilities, health practices, and effective environmental education.
Photo courtesy of LVJUSD
Photo #1 (left to right): George Garcia, CA Department of Education; Altamont Creek staff: Jessica Calkins, Executive Assistant to Principal, Fenna Gatty, Elementary Science Specialist, Andrea Tapia, Principal; David Darlington, former LVJUSD Energy and Conservation Coordinator and current Livermore Valley Education Foundation Board Member