What is it?

The Minnesota GreenStep Schools program adopts the successful Minnesota GreenStep Cities program concept of supporting and recognizing voluntary best practices for environmental responsibility and efficient use of resources, and applies it to schools where it also provides experiential learning opportunities. MN GreenStep Schools integrates the proven, beginner-friendly MN GreenStep Cities program with the comprehensive Green Ribbon framework. The program gives schools an accessible pathway to sustainability, a common framework, and supports small efforts over time. It spurs sustainable behavior outcomes using peer network strategies, shown by research to be effective. The program has completed Phase 1 and is currently completing phase 2.


Phase 1

The “Minnesota GreenStep Schools Sustainable Best Practices Framework Phase 1,” is a completed project, to create a statewide best practices framework for K-12 schools to advance their building and grounds sustainability, health and well being of students and staff, and student environmental education achievement. The project was funded by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) through an Environmental Assistance Grant. The resulting program design framework is published in the Phase 1 report. The Phase 1 project team was led by Institute on the Environment, with US Green Building Council and its Minnesota Green Schools Coalition, and an Advisory Group.

Need and Purpose

Minnesota K-12 Schools have little mandate to provide environmental education or to green their operations to improve environmental impacts. There is great potential for integrating existing environmental education curriculum and proven building and campus improvement strategies into schools. Existing green school programs, despite their strengths, only address a fraction of this potential. Currently, there is no central place to document and compare progress and recognize success across these programs.

The Minnesota GreenStep Schools project addresses these issues and provides a robust, trusted, consistent, and beginner-friendly framework and program design concept to challenge, assist and recognize schools as they advance their building and grounds sustainability, healthy learning environment, and student environmental education achievement.

Phase 2 Project Team

Phase 2 is funded by the MN Pollution Control Agency and led by Minnesota Design Center with Institute on the Environment and partners.

Learn More

The planning team welcomes your questions and input. To explore how to contribute, get on a list of those interested in updates, or get more information, please see the contact page of this website.

Banner Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash