Seventh-grade students work in a greenhouse at Gwynedd-Mercy Academy. 

SPRING HOUSE -- The U.S. Department of Education recently announced that Gwynedd-Mercy Academy Elementary is among the 2020 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award honorees. Gwynedd-Mercy Academy Elementary is the only school in Pennsylvania to receive this 2020 award.

Gwynedd-Mercy Academy Elementary was nominated by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and is greatly deserving of this honor, demonstrating in its application the many innovative and creative steps that have been taken to embrace the three pillars: 1) reducing environmental impact and costs, including waste, water, energy use and alternative transportation; 2) improving the health and wellness of students and staff, including environmental health, nutrition and fitness; and 3) providing effective sustainability education, including robust environmental education that engages STEM, civic skills and green career pathways.

Across the country, 39 schools, 11 districts, and five 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 27 states. The selectees include 28 public schools, including three magnet schools and four charter schools, as well as 11 nonpublic schools. Forty-five percent of the 2020 honorees serve a disadvantaged student body.

Anne Knapke, principal of Gwynedd-Mercy Academy Elementary, said, “On the 50th Anniversary of the first Earth Day, I am thrilled that Gwynedd-Mercy Academy Elementary has been named a 2020 Green Ribbon School! As an institution founded by the Sisters of Mercy, we share the Sisters of Mercy’s critical concern for the Earth, focusing our attention on our commitment to promote sustainable practices within our facilities and our health and environmental education.

"I am pleased the US Department of Education recognizes the efforts of our faculty, staff and students who have been actively engaged in innovative ways to reduce environmental impact and costs, improve the health and wellness of our school, and focus their attention on environmental and sustainable education. We look forward to continuing our efforts to reduce our environmental footprint to help ensure a sustainable future for generations to come.”

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