On Friday, November 15th, New Castle County Executive, Matt Meyer peddled up to Odyssey Charter School on a bicycle, modeling his values for environmental sustainability and health in action. Meyer came to celebrate Odyssey Charter School for receiving the Eco-Schools USA Green Flag award.
This prestigious award is the highest of three achievement levels in the Eco-Schools USA program. Odyssey Charter School is the fifth school in the state of Delaware and the first charter school to receive a Green Flag.
The County Executive applauded the New Castle School and emphasized the need for local action to address global climate change. Meyer was followed by leadership from Odyssey, who expressed their pride for the students and staff that have created enough enthusiasm around sustainability to see measurable change in their school. Lastly, Holly Gallagher of the National Wildlife Federation unveiled and presented the Green Flag to students.
In 2017, Odyssey joined the Delaware Pathways to Green Schools Program to foster sustainability initiatives and reduce energy use. The program, provides free energy audits to eligible new schools. Since receiving the audit, Odyssey has implemented several efficiency projects such as LED lighting and replacing aging heat pumps with high efficiency boilers. Even though the school has added over 120,000 square feet of classroom, these efficiency measures have saved the school nearly $4,000 on utility bills each month.
In just two years, the students and staff at Odyssey have also began composting organic food waste, built an edible garden with 24 raised beds, collected and diverted over 1,000 pounds of plastic from landfill, lobbied at Legislative Hall in support of limiting the use of single plastic bags, and much more.
All of these efforts were made through the framework of National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-Schools USA, working toward "Pathways" of sustainability. By following the Seven Step Framework to complete at least three pathways, a school can apply to receive the Green Flag award. Odyssey Charter has worked toward the Sustainable Foods, Energy, Waste and Consumption, Healthy Living, and Schoolyard Habitat Pathways.
Odyssey Charter School's next goal is to work toward the U.S. Department of Educations Green Ribbon Award.