Green Initiatives at City Schools
Charlottesville City Schools and Charlottesville’s Public Works department work together to reduce the environmental footprint of our school buildings and operations. Here are some examples of our green actions:
- School structures and operations improvements have increased energy efficiency. Seven of nine Charlottesville City schools are now certified as ENERGY STARS® by the US Department of Environmental Protection.
- All schools have single-stream recycling systems in place. Students and teachers recycle paper, plastic, aluminum, tin, glass and cardboard in bins placed throughout school buildings.
- In 2009, we installed a 2,600 square foot bioretention filter to treat stormwater from the Charlottesville High School parking lot and neighboring residential yards. We also installed a 40,000 gallon rainwater harvesting system on the roof of the Martin Luther King Jr. Performing Arts Center that is used to irrigate the CHS practice field. Based on average rainfall for our area, the MLK PAC rainwater harvesting system could collect 585,000 gallons of water a year. Greenbrier Elementary School also has a rain garden.
- School cafeterias have reduced solid waste by eliminating polystyrene foam food containers from daily use.
- All schools have adopted integrated pest management programs. Low toxicity controls are used for insects and other pests whenever possible.
Environmental education programs complement our green school initiatives and build environmental awareness among students.
Charlottesville High School offers courses in ecology, geology, earth science and college level introductory environmental science.The CHS environmental science course covers sustainability, climate change, water quality and species protection with a focus on local issues. Students participate in field labs that monitor stream and reservoir health, identify trees, assess biodiversity and study impacts of invasive species. Environmental science students also take field trips to local natural areas, water treatment plants and green buildings, and are required to complete environmental community service hours with local environmental organizations.
The Odyssey 2025 Summer Academy program gives rising 6th and 7th grade students from Charlottesville City Schools and Albemarle County Schools a chance to learn about science in real-life settings.
National and Local Environmental Partners
The Center for Watershed Protection - A non-profit organization that provides practical and technical information for people and communities interested in protecting and restoring urban watersheds.
Local Motion -- A community campaign to inspire residents of all ages, backgrounds and fitness levels to be physically active in Charlottesville and Albemarle, Virginia.
Safe Routes to School -- A national program that assists communities in enabling and encouraging children to safely walk and bike to school.
Virginia Green Schools Challenge -- A program sponsored by the Virginia School Boards Association that awards points for 33 environmental initiatives.