Virginia schools recognized for environmental education

dgifVirginia Naturally Schools is the official environmental education school recognition program of the Commonwealth, administered by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

These schools are being recognized for their environmental and stewardship efforts during the 2018-2019 school year.

Now in its 20th year, the goal of the program is to recognize those exemplary efforts undertaken by Virginia schools to increase the environmental awareness and stewardship of their students and this year,

DGIF was able to recognize sixty-seven Virginia schools. Three schools have submitted their success stories every year since the beginning of the program. These three schools, John Wayland Elementary in Rockingham County, Peasley Middle School in Gloucester County, and North Branch School in Afton, have been steadfast in their commitment to including environmental stewardship and education in their curriculum.

This year, DGIF, was able to recognize sixty-seven Virginia schools. The sixty-seven schools being recognized this year represent the efforts of 43,312 students, 3,439 teachers and 381 combined years of environmental education effort. Their environmental efforts also support the Profile of a Virginia Graduate through the development of the students’ Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Creative Thinking and Civic Responsibility.

“Environmental education provides a unique opportunity for experiential learning, which allows students to dig deeper on what they have already learned, and apply knowledge to their daily lives,” said Secretary of Education Atif Qarni. “These types of learning opportunities are critical for our students to build connections with their local environments and communities so that they are equipped to be stewards of tomorrow.”

“Environmental education prepares students to tackle tomorrow’s environmental challenges,” said Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew J. Strickler. “I applaud these Virginia schools for building hands-on, locally relevant education about the environment into their curricula.”

DGIF is encouraging more schools to participate; and with the support from the Governor’s Office and the First Lady, is looking forward to the program growing.

If your school has already been working with its community, resource agencies and businesses to include education about the environment in the curriculum, please apply for the Virginia Naturally School Recognition Award. This is not a one-time award but one upon which you may build and achieve additional recognitions each year you participate.

For more information on the Virginia Naturally Schools Recognition Program and/or to view a copy of the Virginia Naturally School Recognition list for the 2018-19 year, visit:

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