School Eco-Footprint Program:
How Green is Our School?

With CELF’s hands-on School Eco-Footprint Program, it’s the students who give the school a report card, based on their own environmental audit. Suddenly, the issues of sustainability and human impact on the planet are very close to home.

"I am still reeling from the success of the day and excited about next steps... I knew you were an impressive organization - but frankly this was far more than I expected. Your knowledge, professionalism, collaboration with staff, warmth, knowledge of students and instructional strategies - and much more - combined to make for a powerful experience. I know how much work had to go on behind the scenes to prepare the day's activities. Thank you for such a thoughtful and thorough presentation." Gail Boyle, principal, Chatsworth Elementary School - Mamaroneck, NY (March 2011)

In the Eco-Footprint program, elementary and middle school students examine their own school facilities, and in the process gain:

  • New vocabulary
  • An Understanding of how their actions affect the world around them
  • Tools to address short and long-term local and global concerns
  • Appreciation of the importance of making good choices when it comes to environmental consequences.

This program includes a full on-site day with students and staff, as well as advanced preparation for teachers and the school’s on-site experts on how the program works, how it can be used as a teaching tool and how to integrate it with state curriculum standards.

A Day Packed with Learning

The program day is an intense learning experience. Activities include:

  • What is an ecological footprint? We introduce the footprint concept as students discuss their own individual activities and impacts.
  • How Green is Our School? Students investigate how the school uses resources and disposes of waste, taking a guided tour of the cafeteria, transportation coordination, boiler rooms, building maintenance, etc. At each location a staff expert from the school answers student questions.
  • Crunch the Numbers! Students collect data on the waste produced and the resources consumed in providing energy, water and transportation to and from school. We use it to calculate the school’s ecological footprint.
  • Communicate Your Findings. Student’s share their findings with other students and teachers, the administration and the school board and see how your school compares with others
  • Create a Plan! In classroom brainstorming sessions, students develop an action plan to reduce the school’s footprint.

Learn About
CELF Outcomes

The School Eco-Footprint program not only engages students in thinking for sustainability, it reduces a school’s ecological impact (and often its utility bills!). Read more about the benefits at the Milton School»


Interested in bringing the Green Schools program to your school?

Katie Ginsberg

CELF Executive Director


Read about the CELF Eco-Footprint in the following schools:

Manhattan Country School Pleasantville Middle School
Milton Elementary School



Humanity’s demand on the Earth’s resources, its Ecological Footprint, now exceeds the planet's regenerative capacity by about 30%.

The Living Planet Report 2008, WWF

Copyright 2014. Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation. All Rights Reserved. CELF-taught is a Service Mark of CELF.