Michigan Green Schools

With concern regarding COVID-19, the Detroit Zoo is canceling all spring events as a precautionary measure. Due to this, the Michigan Green Schools Award Ceremony on April 22, 2020 has been canceled.

Congratulations 2019-20 Michigan Green Schools!

Michigan Green Schools Logo

Oakland Schools celebrates 121 public and private schools that have participated in environmental initiatives during the 2019-20 school year earning the schools an Evergreen, Emerald or Green designation. Michigan Green Schools is a non-profit 501(c)3 agency dedicated to assisting all Michigan schools – public and private – achieve environmental goals which include protecting the air, land, water and animals of our state along with world outreach through good ecological practices and the teaching of educational stewardship of students pre-kindergarten through senior high school.


The history of Oakland County’s Michigan Green Schools Program

This program began as a grassroots initiative at Hartland High School in Livingston County in 2005. This effort resulted in Governor Jennifer Granholm signing Public Act 146 into law in May of 2006, with Public Act 301 of 2010 expanding the program.

Oakland County became involved with this program in the 2007-2008 school year, and awarded the Michigan Green School designation to 45 public and private schools during the first year. Oakland County had more schools participate than any other county in the state.

In 2008-2009 Oakland County partnered with Oakland Schools and more than doubled the number and awarded the Michigan Green School designation to 98 public and private schools. Thirty-two of those schools attained the higher designation of Emerald status.

In 2009-2010 Oakland Schools took the lead on this project with Oakland County's help. Since then the program has been going strong!

The 2019-2020 school year was the 13th year of the Oakland County Green Schools program and a total of 121 schools participated last year. 17 schools were designated Green schools, 22 were designated Emerald schools for participating in 15 - 19 activities and 82 schools were designated Evergreen, the highest designation, for participating in 20 or more activities.

Award Levels

The Michigan Green Schools Program encourages public and private schools to participate in environmentally friendly and energy savings activities.

  • A school achieving 10–14 of the  listed activities can apply to be designated a Michigan Green School.
  • A school achieving 15-19 of the listed activities can apply to be designated a Michigan Emerald School.
  • A school completing 20 or more of the listed activities can apply to be designated a Michigan Evergreen School.

2019/2020 Application

Applications can be submitted starting January 1, 2020 and are due by March 2, 2020.
This year’s ceremony will be held at the Detroit Zoo on April 22, 2020 – the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day!



How can your school become a Michigan Green School?

Michigan Green Schools participate in two activities from each of the categories below:

Reduce/Reuse/Recycle Category

  • Coordinate a program for recycling at least two of the following: office paper, plastic, metal cans, printer cartridges, newspapers and magazines, cellular telephones, cardboard, fabric and clothing, compact discs and digital video discs, glass, or other product
  • Composting food and organic wastes
  • Conducting a waste-free lunch program
  • Implementing a policy to buy recycled, biodegradable, locally produced or less toxic food and school supplies

Energy Category

  • Offer at least one teaching unit on alternative energy
  • Using alternative energy, renewable fuels or specialized energy-efficient technology in school operations (district-wide mandates)
  • Implement a school energy-saving program; specific actions taken at your school
  • Perform energy audits at student homes and educating student families and the community
  • Taking part in a project or event to promote improved vehicle fuel efficiency
  • Sponsoring an alternative energy presentation, project or event

Environmental Protection Category

  • Participate in activities promoting the health of the Great Lakes watershed
  • Offer a teaching unit on environmental issues facing this state
  • Establish or maintain a natural Michigan garden project with native plants or vegetables; grown produce is used in teaching units or donated to the community organization
  • Establish or maintain an outdoor animal habitat project
  • Participate in a local community environmental issue by activities such as letter-writing, attending public hearings, raising funds or community outreach

Miscellaneous Category

  • Sponsor an endangered or threatened species and publicize the activity.
  • Host an environmental or energy speaker, event or field trip
  • Establish a student organization that participates in environmental activities
  • Observe Earth Day by participating in an Earth Day event in April and/or America Recycles Day in November
  • Maintain an updated bulletin board or kiosk with information on environmental concerns and the school's actions in addressing those concerns
  • Establish an eco-reading program
  • Update the school's media center environmental materials
  • Visit internet sites that educate about the environment and support endangered ecosystems
  • Create an active website, school-wide broadcast, Public Service Announcement, or documentary addressing environmental issues facing the State
  • Coordinate an exchange or drive to collect used or unwanted items within the school or community for re-purpose

The Michigan Green Schools application is now closed for the 2019-2020 school year. We look forward to celebrating your school's environmental work next year!