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Gwinnett’s Lanier High School honored for going “green”

Lanier High School has been named a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School. Lanier High is one of 46 schools from around the nation awarded the Green Ribbon designation, which recognizes schools and districts that exercise a comprehensive approach to creating “green” environments by reducing environmental impact, promoting health, and ensuring a high-quality environmental and outdoor education for students.

Lanier High has implemented a number of “green” initiatives that focus on reducing solid waste, water and energy usage; improving the health and wellness of students and staff, and extending its environmental stewardship efforts. Dr. Christopher Martin, Lanier’s principal, says, “Since our school’s beginning in 2010, Lanier’s students and teachers have been committed to setting the bar high for environmental stewardship and sustainable programming. This commitment, coupled with our work to grow young leaders and provide real-world experiences for our students, led to our school being singled out as a Green Ribbon School. I am proud to know that Lanier High School is doing its part to make a difference in the world.”

The school’s energy/water saving efforts include the installation of occupancy sensors and lighting retrofits in all classrooms, the placement of light and projector “turn off” reminders in all classrooms and office spaces, the setting of computers and copiers to Energy Star “sleep mode,” and specific days/times designated for laminator use. The school also earned a nod from the Department of Transportation’s Georgia Commute Options Program as the first school in Gwinnett to designate six parking spaces for carpooling teachers/students. The school also has partnered with the Clean Air Campaign to implement at “No Idling Campaign” and a “Ride the Bus Campaign.”

Flowers220In addition, students engage in a number of environmentally friendly activities and projects including participating in chemical and biological monitoring of a local school stream and working with Elachee Nature Center to educate students about stream ecosystems while catching macro-invertebrates and determining the overall health of the stream. The school’s environmental stewardship also encompasses an outdoor garden that is a fully functional outdoor “living classroom” that includes garden beds, a butterfly garden, a compost bin, two rain barrels, and picnic tables. Students also benefit from community partnerships. The school’s work with the WES Foundation (leukemia research) results in the repurposing of water bottles into works of art called “Flower Power” program. The flowers are then delivered to cancer patients in local hospitals. This partnership aligns with an education campaign called “Refill not Landfill” where students teach their peers how to reduce waste by using reusable water bottles. A partnership with Johns Creek Environmental Campus Wastewater Treatment Plant allows students to learn the process it takes to maintain the drinking water supply. And, students benefit from the school’s ongoing work with Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful.

In addition to the Green Ribbon School designation, Lanier High School has earned related recognitions that speak to the school’s commitment to its green initiatives. These include but are not limited to:

• LHS has earned the distinction of a “Reaching Higher” Green & Healthy School for the past eight years. • In 2017, teacher Jeannie Lanio was named “Project WET” Georgia Educator of the Year.

• For the past three years, LHS students have been recognized as part of the Youth Advisory Council for Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful.

• In 2017, Christy Battle and Jeannie Lanio were awarded “Green Educator Awards” from Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful.

Schools awarded the Green Ribbon designation were selected from a pool of candidates nominated by 25 states and the Department of Defense Department of Education Activity. The selectees include 40 public schools, including two magnet schools and two charter schools, as well as six non-public schools. In Georgia, a partnership between the Georgia Department of Education, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, the Captain Planet Foundation, the Turner Foundation, the U.S. Green Building Council of Georgia, and the University System of Georgia helps schools compete for the national award.

For additional information about Lanier High’s designation as a Green Ribbon School contact Dr. Martin at 678-765-4040.