High School honored as U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School

The U.S. Department of Education recently announced that Forest Lake Area High School has been designated as a 2019 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award honoree, the only school in Minnesota to receive this recognition.

Two high school students plant a rain garden on high school property

This national honor recognizes schools for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education. 

Forest Lake Area High School recently completed several efficiency upgrades to the building, including solar panels and energy-efficient equipment such as LED lights, motion-sensor light switches, and virtual monitoring and automatic control of HVAC equipment to minimize energy use. The school also has an active student Environmental Club, which plans and implements several student-led sustainability projects each year for the benefit of both the school and the broader community.

Two high school students hold up an award certificate

Environmental Club Advisor Devon Vojtech, a Science teacher at Forest Lake Area High School said that students played a huge role in receiving this award. Two club members in particular, Kaitlyn Atkin and Jake Ross, stepped up to collect data and help write the proposal that resulted in this award.

“I opened it up as an opportunity for my students and they both stepped forward and said that they were interested,” Vojtech said. She went on to add that the students’ contributions were all done on their own time on a volunteer basis.