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By Ian Bush

WAYNE, Pa. (CBS) — Three local schools have been named “Green Ribbon” schools by the US Department of Education, in a program that honors the best in environmental education and conservation.

Among the 78 schools in 29 states (and Washington, DC) to receive the inaugural awards was Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, in Chestnut Hill.

“Science is at the core of this — being responsible citizens of the world in which they live is really a significant part of our mission,” says school president Dr. Priscilla Sands.

She calls it boots-on-the-ground learning, with everyone from the youngest of the K-12 students going hands-on in the Wissahickon watershed.

“We’ve tried to initiate a farm-to-table program, we have no-meat Mondays, we have no waste in the cafeteria — we compost.   We have a 232-kilowatt solar array and a LEED-certified science building,” she tells KYW Newsradio.

At Radnor Middle School in Wayne, district superintendent Dr. Linda Grobman says recycled building materials and a greenhouse program make up part of the culture for students.

“They’re used to living this way — so it’s not that they’ve done something special to be green, but what they’ve really done is taken it to the next level,” she says.

And, she adds, copying the middle school’s best practices in other educational buildings is a benefit for taxpayers:

“We have geothermal heating at Radnor Middle School, and we’re now putting that in at Wayne Elementary.  Inside the school, our lights go on and off automatically, and we’ve replicated that in our other buildings.  All of that is realized into savings which we are then able to use to offset taxes.”

Alder Avenue Middle School in Egg Harbor Township, NJ also received a green ribbon.

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