Fayette County’s Morton Middle School was the only Kentucky school this year to win a Green Ribbon School Award from the U.S. Department of Education. Sixty-four schools, districts and postsecondary institutions were honored nationwide. The program recognizes schools for focusing their students on sustaining the environment, promoting health and wellness, and providing environmental education.
Morton Middle’s programs include a weekly recycling program and monthly energy audits to keep tabs on its energy costs; the efforts have reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 29 percent and energy use by 49 percent over six years. Money from energy savings is put into a fund for new sustainability projects. The school participates in the Kentucky Green and Healthy Schools nine-goal program, and also has partnered with a local elementary school to mentor green schools efforts.
Students at Morton Middle School return a recycling bin to a classroom after
emptying it into an outside receptacle. (Photo courtesy of Morton Middle School)
The school’s wellness activities include a spring World Fit Campaign built around student and staff walking, a Girls on the Run program, and clubs that teach various life skills. The school also plants two raised garden beds and has a chicken coop. With partner organizations, students have cultivated three trout farms.
Morton Middle will be honored along with other U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools at a Washington, D.C., ceremony in July.