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 Encinitas School District Finalist for National Environmental Recognition

Encinitas Union School District is in the running for a national environmental award because of its programs that have reduced waste and increased knowledge of ecological issues.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson nominated the school district last week to compete in the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools recognition program. The announcement was made at the one-acre educational farm at Ocean Knoll Elementary School in Encinitas.

“Together with efficient facilities and good health practices, a strong ecoliteracy education develops students into citizens who will be lifelong stewards of our environment,” Torlakson said in a prepared statement.

Green Ribbon Schools demonstrate exemplary achievement in reducing their environmental impact, improving health and wellness, and providing effective lessons about environmental issues.

The school district is home to one National Wildlife (NWF) Federation Eco-School, four NWF Certified Habitats, and two Alliance for a Healthier Generation Schools. Two large-scale organic, sustainable farming efforts are blossoming within the district: a 10-acre agriculture and ecology learning center and the one-acre educational farm at Ocean Knoll.

The district also has reduced lunchtime waste by 85 percent using carts for recycling and composting.

California is one of 39 states, the District of Columbia, and the Bureau of Indian Education expected to nominate schools or districts for the federal recognition. National winners will be announced in July.