You might often read stories about schools like UC Irvine, which just purchased 20 electric buses for their fleet, or Colorado State University, known as the “Greenest School in America,” and wonder how those schools get so much support for sustainability in student education, but did you know about all of the things happening with sustainability in our schools here in Omaha?

From pre-kindergarten to college, the education community is taking sustainability seriously and doing what they can to instill sustainability values into our students – our future leaders – early on.

Omaha is the site of the very first Project Localize for elementary students. Students learn what is happening with their own food system by creating artwork, describing what sustainability looks like in their own backyard combining art, food, technology and education.

Many middle school students are now getting lessons in aquaponics, learning about the closed loop system of sustainability, how to grow their own food, and the complex science behind all of it. And the best part is, they love it!

High school students in the area have the opportunity to attend the Academy of Sustainable Environments & Renewable Resources. The Academy focuses on the growing need to promote green building practices, technologies, policies and standards to build an environmentally responsible, economically profitable, and healthy future for the region.

Our local colleges are also proponents of sustainability. University of Nebraska Omaha, Creighton University, Clarkson College, Metropolitan Community College, and even UNMC have Sustainability Coordinator’s on staff – people whose sole priority is to make their school a more sustainable place through operations, academics, and even educating the community!

There are plenty of ways to support our Omaha students in their sustainability interests: you can attend (or even judge!) the Metropolitan Science and Engineering Fair, take a young person in your life to Earth Day Omaha (April 22nd this year!), or even sign up for a community garden plot and garden with your child.

Now, more than ever, it seems critical to educate our young people at every opportunity about the innate need to care for the earth. It’s up to us as citizens of our community, young and old, to make Omaha a greener place.

Sarah Murray
Vice President, Green Omaha Coalition