(OMAHA, Nebraska) — Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart is a thought leader when it comes to implementing a thriving sustainability program in a high school.

Since the school’s Sustainability Program began in 2016, Duchesne has

  • been named a 2020 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School (the only one in Omaha and one of just three in Nebraska that year),
  • received an Energy Star rating of 92 three years in a row
  • installed a solar panel array to power a STEM lab
  • started a composting program to achieve the school’s Zero Waste by 2030 goal

Sustainability is part of Duchesne students’ daily life rather than a stand-alone topic. Teachers plan lessons in ways to reduce or eliminate paper usage, the lunch program uses ingredients grown on campus, and the Sustainability club recruits volunteers to help during Earth Day Omaha events.

“I’m proud of the ways our students and staff have embraced being sustainable and because of that buy-in we are closer than ever to realizing our Zero Waste by 2030 goal,” said Assistant Principal and Sustainability Coordinator Eric Krakowski.

Students have led the effort to reduce waste bound for landfills by ensuring they separate their trash into recyclables, compostable, and waste containers which are in classrooms and hallways.

“I believe people want to do what they can to live more sustainably. We’ve seen students fully embrace this program because we’ve taken steps to make it as easy as possible for them to make sustainable choices,” Krakowski said.

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