Certification Process

School certification provides a framework for K-12 communities to work toward a healthier, more sustainable campus.

Participating schools form Green Teams and take on a long-term action project chosen from among eight environmental categories, tracking their progress using an online Report Card. EarthGen Certified schools earn awards and receive statewide recognition for their efforts.

A group of students plants a rain garden
A student green team leader is recognized for their projects success. He shakes hands and receives a certificate for a teacher

Schools that complete their first project receive a Bronze level certification that lasts for two years, but environmental stewardship is not just a one-time accomplishment. Green Teams can raise their school’s award level by completing additional projects in other environmental categories or by recertifying in previous categories. As Green Teams make more progress toward embedding environmental stewardship in their communities, they earn new awards and elevate their status from Bronze to Silver, Gold, and Platinum.

The Certification Process

1. Build Your Team

Your Green Team is the driving force behind your school’s collective action toward a more sustainable campus. It provides young people with leadership opportunities and can take any shape that works for your school community – from two students and an adult leader to a single classroom, club, or the whole student body. Green Teams need to be approved by administration and will meet regularly during the school year to choose a project and keep it on track through completion.

2. Assess Your School

Your Green Team’s first task is to choose an environmental category and assess your school’s current performance in the online Report Card to discover opportunities for improvement. Then the Green Team picks a project for study and action. The seven categories are: 

  • Energy
  • Healthy School Buildings
  • School Grounds & Gardens
  • Transportation
  • Waste & Recycling
  • Water
  • Habitat Restoration (New in 2022!)
  • At-Home

3. Make a Lasting Change

When your Green Team has chosen a project, look for opportunities to engage more members of the school community in your efforts to make a lasting change. Create clear signage, produce a training video, recruit student volunteers, or come up with other ideas to spread awareness and inspire action. Record your progress in your online Report Card.

4. Verify Your Impact

When your project is complete, analyze its impact. Every school community is different. Some projects can make a big difference, other times small steps are a significant achievement. EarthGen’s carbon calculator tool can help you quantify your impact.

5. Share Your Story

Inform and inspire the rest of your school and community. Share your Green Team’s progress and positive impact. Write an article for the school newsletter; make an announcement over the school PA system; present at a PTA meeting or hold a school assembly. EarthGen can even help your Green Team write a press release to share with local news outlets.

6. Certify and Celebrate

Make your success official by submitting your completed online Report Card. Once EarthGen approves it, your school will be Bronze Level certified in your chosen environmental category for the next two years. You’ll also get an EarthGen flag to fly proudly at your school. Schedule an awards assembly to recognize your hard work and celebrate your success.

Closeup of youth hands separating plastic bottles

At-Home Certification

During the pandemic, EarthGen created a new environmental category: At–Home Certification. Educators and Green Team leaders can use the flexible At-Home Certification Kit to earn recognition for projects completed at home.

With step-by-step instructions for getting certified, this kit includes hands-on activities to deepen students’ understanding of the environmental impacts of their choices. Green Team leaders submit a report card to receive At-Home certification for their school.

Ready to get certified?