New Green Ribbon Awardee Middlebrook School (Wilton, CT)


Students making spinach past
Students make spinach pasta

Please join us in congratulating Middlebrook School in Wilton on winning a national U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Award. Middlebrook School has an outstanding Green Team that has accomplished exemplary work as a CT Green LEAF School. We are proud of their many green accomplishments. We especially recognize Heather Priest and Tammy Thornton for their dedication and hard work. The news release below was circulated across the state:

May 2020 — The U.S. Department of Education announced the recipients of this year’s national Green Ribbon Schools Awards. Middlebrook School in Wilton, CT is among the awardees.


“I am so proud of the work that Middlebrook’s students and staff have accomplished,” says Heather Priest, consumer science teacher at Middlebrook School. “When we began this journey there was not a clear roadmap of how to achieve our sustainability goals, so we had to pave our own way. Through this discovery we were able to design a program that not only fit our school but one that could also be shared with other schools in our district and surrounding communities. With this national recognition we hope to increase our momentum and continue to provide guidance to our students – the next generation of environmental stewards and community members.”


Middlebrook School was nominated by Connecticut Green LEAF Schools in recognition of their innovative work to reduce environmental impact and cost, increase health and wellness of students and staff, and incorporate environmental and sustainability education into their curriculum. Among many accomplishments, these efforts include developing food waste reduction and food donation initiatives, a sixth-grade Family and Consumer Science class that focuses on school gardening and in-class sustainable cooking, and building a greenhouse and school garden equipped with rain barrels and a drip irrigation system.


With broad support from their school district and multiple community partners, Middlebrook School has shown exemplary leadership in reducing environmental impact and costs, improving health and wellness, and offering effective sustainability education – the three pillars of success identified by the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Award program. Tammy Thornton, an actively involved Wilton parent and founder of Wilton’s Zero Waste Coalition, collaborated with Heather Priest to ensure the school’s outstanding Green LEAF commitment to environmental stewardship.


“Middlebrook School has achieved much success in their ongoing efforts to go greener,” notes Abby Peklo of EdAdvance, Director of the Connecticut Green LEAF Schools program. “We felt certain that their strong application would showcase their accomplishments and result in this national award.”


Across the country, 39 schools, 11 districts, and five postsecondary institutions are being honored by the U.S. Department of Education for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education. The honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 27 states. Award-winning schools from across the country will be honored during a special ceremony in Washington, D.C. on August 4th.

To learn more about the U.S. Deparment of Education’s Green Ribbon program, see: https://www2.ed.gov/programs/green-ribbon-schools/index.html.


Students prepare garden beds
Students prepare garden beds