Green Schools Program

Santa Cruz County Recycles Logo

The County of Santa Cruz Green Schools Program (GSP) furthers the education of students, teachers and staff on environmental topics including resource conservation, storm water runoff, water quality and conservation, energy conservation, recycling, and waste reduction. The goal of GPS is to support the county’s schools as they evolve into "Green Schools" that model wise resource use, eliminate waste, reduce non-point source pollution, and train students to conserve scarce resources like energy and water. The program provides both in-class and school-wide presentations, educational assemblies, and technical assistance to member schools.


Program History

The GSP is an elaboration of the original award-winning Waste Free Schools (WFS) program which focused entirely on waste reduction and recycling education. The GSP builds on the success of the WFS program that has been in place since 1997. The GSP is funded by the County of Santa Cruz Public Works Departments, and the County's hauler franchise Green Waste Recovery (GWR).


About the Program

All schools in the unincorporated area of the County of Santa Cruz are invited to participate in the GSP. The County has contracted with Coastal Watershed Council to support school district staff and offer presentations and assemblies at schools. Presentations are available for all grades (Kindergarten thru 12th grade), teachers, administrators, cafeteria staff, and custodians.


How the Program Works

Site leaders meet with GSP staff to gain assistance in reducing trash and increasing recycling efforts, increasing water and energy conservation, and in planning school events that support the goals of the GSP. Site leaders are the point people at their schools, reminding other teachers and administrators of the goals and priorities of the GSP, and pushing for changes that would incorporate the conservation and waste reduction methods discussed in their meetings with GSP staff. Each school, with the help of GSP staff, develops its own individualized plan to reduce resources use, minimize waste and increase recycling. The Green Schools Checklist includes a broad range of the actions and activities a school can undertake to reduce its environmental footprint. The schools can then obtain a "Green Business" Certification. The schools are also asked to participate in community outreach events. Under teacher supervision, the students at participating schools, are required to participate in a hands-on learning event tied to the program’s goals such as a beach, watershed or river cleanup or a storm drain marking project that also serves to spread the environmental message to the greater community.

Resource Conservation

School Presentations

Assembly and classroom presentations are offered by Coastal Watershed Council. For more information regarding school presentations, please contact Beau_Hawksford.