The U.S. Department of Education announced today that Crellin Elementary School (CES) in Oakland, MD is among the 2022 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award honorees. CES is the only school in the state of Maryland to receive this award for 2022.

Crellin Elementary was nominated by the Maryland State Department of Education. The nomination came because of the school remedying a local creek of historic mining contaminants and using the environment as a learning tool to teach gardening, watershed standards, and conservation practices in an outdoor classroom. Additional learning opportunities include an agricultural program featuring barns with sheep and hens, a solar panel that maximizes egg production, composting, and a greenhouse using hydroponics. Even the school building has an upgraded HVAC system to be more energy efficient.

“This is awesome!” said Dr. Dana McCauley on earning the award. “I’m so proud to be a part of this school community that embraces working toward a sustainable culture and who is not afraid of hard work. This award recognizes all our students—past and present, staff, and community members who have worked tirelessly through the years to help create this environment. We are truly grateful for all the outside agencies and community support that we continue to receive.”

Superintendent Barbara Baker said, “Please join in me in congratulating the staff, students, parents, and the entire Crellin community on being the only school in the state of Maryland to be recognized as a USDE Green Ribbon School. This award is certainly well-deserved!”

Across the country, 27 schools, five districts, and four postsecondary institutions are being honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education. The honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 19 states. The list of all selected schools, districts, colleges, and universities, as well as their nomination packages, can be found online. A report with highlights on the 36 honorees can be found on the USDE website. More information on the federal recognition award can be found on the USDE website. Resources for all schools to move toward the three Pillars can be found on the green strides website.

An awards ceremony will take place at the end of July, in Washington, D.C., where Crellin Elementary will receive an engraved plaque made of sustainable materials.