Wellesley Public Schools (WPS) is receiving national recognition for its sustainability efforts and has been selected by the U.S. Department of Education as a 2019 Green Ribbon School District Sustainability Awardee. WPS is one of only 14 school districts in the country to receive this honor.

The District Sustainability Award recognizes the innovative efforts developed by WPS to reduce environmental impacts and costs, improve the health and wellness of students and staff, and deliver effective environmental and sustainability education. The honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 28 states.

In early May, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education awarded WPS with a Massachusetts Green Ribbon Schools award and then entered WPS into the pool of candidates for the U.S. Department of Education’s award.

“We’re extremely honored to receive this national attention,” said Dr. David Lussier, WPS Superintendent. “Promoting sustainability is a priority in our schools and our community. This recognition validates all the hard work and effort that many people across Wellesley—Town departments, students, faculty, parents, and local nonprofits—put into making the town greener.”

Some of the energy saving measures adopted by WPS include working to identify and improve the least energy efficient buildings, adopting recycling and food waste diversion programs that encourage behavior to save energy, and developing no idling campaigns and walk/ride to school days to promote alternative means of transportation.

To improve health and wellness, the Town of Wellesley’s Facilities Management Department (FMD) began using “green certified” cleaning products in 2017. Buildings are maintained with an ionized water system (Orbio os3), which uses tap water in almost all cleaning applications and is the cleaning system available with the least carbon footprint, eliminating harsh chemicals and associated off-gassing.

And Wellesley educators have added thoughtful, strategic curricula across the district. Middle school students study earth science and have a global climate change unit as well as an interdisciplinary hydroponic gardening option. Wellesley High School offers an AP Environmental Science course and every other year, the community hosts a STEM Expo (a hands-on science, technology, engineering and math exposition) for students and families.

The District Sustainability Award will be formally presented to WPS during a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on September 25, 2019.

In addition to Wellesley Public Schools, Boston Green Academy in Brighton, MA, and Ipswich Middle- High School in Ipswich, MA, are the other two schools in the Commonwealth to receive the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award.

Wellesley Town Meeting passed a bylaw restricting plastic bags back in 2016 — now 121 cities and towns in Massachusetts have passed plastic bag regulations! We need a state law that will help reduce plastic pollution even more and create consistent regulations for retailers across the state.

State Rep. Lori Ehrlich and State Senator Jamie Eldridge have proposed a strong bill (H.771/S.462) but lobbyists are trying to weaken it by removing a fee for paper bags, barring cities and towns from passing stronger bans in the future, and allowing many stores to continue to pass out plastic bags. All these changes would damage our efforts to reduce plastic waste and we can’t let that happen. The ocean is filling with plastic every day!

Sustainable Wellesley is joining the Conservation Law Foundation in asking you to contact Wellesley legislators:

  • Rep. Alice Peisch: Please thank Rep. Peisch for co-sponsoring H.771/S.462 and ask her to resist efforts to weaken the bill.

  • State Sen. Cynthia Creem: Please ask Sen. Creem to support H.771/S.462 and ask her to resist efforts to weaken the bill.

  • State Sen. Becca Rausch (representing Wellesley precincts B,F,G): Please thank Sen. Rausch for co-sponsoring H.771/S.462 and ask her to resist efforts to weaken the bill.

Here are some talking points:

  • Wellesley Town Meeting strongly approved the town bag bylaw and the bylaw has been successfully implemented for the past several years.

  • Plastic bags are consistently among the top six most common items found in cleanups. They’re dangerous to wildlife and can break down into micro plastics that end up in our drinking water, threatening our own health.

  • Plastic bags contaminate our recycling and jam up machinery, increasing costs to towns.

  • More than 100 Massachusetts cities and towns, from Pittsfield to Boston, have already passed bag bans and this bill would help reduce plastic pollution throughout our state.

  • A $0.10 fee on paper bags would encourage people to switch to reusable bags, which are the best option for the environment. Towns are prohibited from levying a fee on paper bags so a state law is the only way for that to happen.

Thanks for taking action to reduce plastic waste!

2019 Climate & Energy Advocacy Training

Thursday, June 13, 7 pm to 9 pm at Temple Beth Elohim, 10 Bethel Road, Wellesley 

Register Here

Please join us at the upcoming 2019 Climate and Energy Advocacy Trainingpresented by the Massachusetts Sierra Club and Mass Power Forward Coalition.  This training will provide a valuable update on clean energy, climate, and environmental justice priorities for this legislative session and share action steps and tools you can use to help move these priorities forward. You’ll hear from Sierra Club trainers and local environmental leaders.

This training will:

  • outline key legislation to expand renewable energy and reduce climate pollution in Massachusetts
  • explain why equity and environmental justice matter and how they are central to the Mass Power Forward Coalition’s climate agenda
  • share action steps you can take and tools to prepare you to engage effectively with state and local officials
  • answer your questions about the clean energy landscape in our state.

Join us for this informative evening and let’s come together to make real progress on a just clean energy transition in our communities and across Massachusetts.  No prior experience required!

Registration requested.  Please use this Sign-Up link.

Co-sponsors include First Parish in Needham UU Green Congregation Committee, Green Needham Collaborative, Jewish Alliance for Law & Social Action, Jewish Climate Action Network, Sustainable Wellesley, Temple Beth Elohim Green Team, Temple Beth Shalom, UU Wellesley Hills, and Wellesley Village Church.