Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose and Redwood High School in Redwood City are among 26 schools nationwide to be named Green Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education. (U.S. Department of Education)

Two Bay Area schools are among four statewide and 26 across the nation to be honored as Green Ribbon Schools for their efforts to reduce environmental impacts and improve health and wellness, the U.S. Department of Education announced.

Bellarmine College Preparatory, a private Jesuit school in San Jose, and Redwood High School in Redwood City received the honor along with elementary schools in San Diego County and Orange County.

“Our 2023 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools have raised the bar for sustainable practices, energy efficiency, health and wellness, and hands-on learning experiences that enhance students’ problem-solving skills and foster a sense of environmental stewardship and civic responsibility,” Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a statement.

The award recipients, who will be invited to a ceremony in Washington, D.C., to celebrate, were also lauded by California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, who said they “exemplify leading-edge models for improved indoor air quality, outdoor classrooms, and whole-school environmental education.”

The campus at Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose includes a garden for outdoor course instruction and uses environmentally friendly and sustainable products on campus. (Bellarmine College Preparatory/Facebook)

Bellarmine principal Sonya Arriola said it “is enormously proud of our institutional commitment to environmental sustainability … It is our deepest desire that our students and community see this recognition as a continued call to action — to use their collective talents to study, and ultimately address, the complex challenges facing our world around climate and sustainability.”

Bellarmine noted its campus includes a garden for outdoor course instruction, uses biodegradable and other environmentally-friendly products on campus, and has rooftop solar panel systems.

Redwood High School was honored for its programs including having an outdoor education fellow who works full-time to manage the school garden and integrate environmental science into the school’s curriculum. The school also has an organic food forest with a greenhouse and a chicken coop designed and built by students.

More information about the Green Ribbon Schools program can be found on the California Department of Education website.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

Dan McMenamin is the managing editor at Bay City News, directing daily news coverage of the 12-county greater Bay Area. He has worked for BCN since 2008 and has been managing editor since 2014 after previously serving as BCN’s San Francisco bureau reporter. A UC Davis graduate, he came to BCN after working for a newspaper and nonprofit in the Davis area. He handles staffing, including coaching of our interns, day-to-day coverage decisions and management of the newswire.