Charles Helmers Elementary and Skyblue Mesa Elementary from Saugus Unified School District will compete against eighteen other schools from southern California in Grades of Green’s 2017-2018 Trash Free Lunch Challenge. Last year, Bridgeport Elementary from Saugus Unified School District came in as a finalist in the 2016-2017 Trash Free Lunch Challenge with an 80% landfill diversion rate. Will one of these Saugus Unified schools be the 2017-2018 Trash Free Lunch Challenge Winner and take home a $1,000 grand prize? Check out our website and social media pages at @gradesofgreen throughout the year to check on these schools’ progress in the Challenge. Finalists and winners will be announced in March 2018! Read the full story here.


Grades of Green’s work to inspire children across the country and the world to take action on behalf of the environment was recently featured on Charity Matters, a platform for social action that tells the stories of non-profit heroes.
Charity Matters founder Heidi Johnson interviewed Grades of Green Program Coordinator Emily Stewart about what fuels her work and how Grades of Green students are making a difference in the world. Read the full story here.

Want to get involved with Grades of Green? Register your school here to unlock our
40+ Grades of Green Activities
. Check out our Global Water Challenge, a new program designed to empower students to become environmental advocates.

At the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year, Metropolitan Water District provided a grant to Grades of Green which helped our Youth Corps Eco-Leaders install a native garden on campus to save water! You can read the Manhattan Beach Sun article about their garden by clicking here, or you  can view the PDF version here.

Interested in joining our Youth Corps Eco-Leadership Program and taking on an environmental activity of your own? Email us at or call our office at (310) 607-0175 for more information! Applications for the 2017-2018 program are open until September 15, 2017.

Lush highlighted Grades of Green’s Trash Free Lunch Challenge and our mission to inspire and empower kids to care for the environment. Thanks to their sponsorship, Grades of Green was able to help schools across southern California reduce their lunchtime waste by an average of 70%! Read the full story by clicking here, or you can view a PDF version here.

Interested in signing your school up for the Trash Free Lunch Challenge? Email us at or call our office at (310) 607-0175 for more information!

Manhattan Beach Middle School shared some great news with us lately! In a recent e-newsletter, MBMS celebrated the installation of a couple of water refill stations. Several passionate students organized the fundraising efforts, including Youth Corps student Sydney H. She ran 3 separate e-waste drives, where the e-waste collection company paid for the e-waste Sydney collected to be recycled properly. Thanks to the newly installed hydration stations, MBMS will do their part to forgo using single-use plastic water bottles, which contributes to 8 million tons of plastic waste that ends up polluting our oceans.

Do you want your school to cut back on single-use plastic water bottles? Taking on Grades of Green’s Water Refill Station activity will surely help your cause! A water refill station can be as simple and low-cost as an insulated water jug! To access downloadable resources (such as our hydration station signage that you can print out for your own station) and more, please register here.

Grades of Green’s No Idle Zone Activity was featured in the summer issue of Green Teacher Magazine, marking our second national publication this year! Our article, “Turn the Key to be Idle Free,” establishes the importance of No Idle Zones in improving air quality and child health, and provides readers with best practices for establishing No Idle Zones on their school campuses.

Grades of Green’s No Idle Zone Activity empowers students to instill environmental values in their broader communities as they encourage parents to turn off their engines in school pick-up zones. Creating No Idle Zones reduces air pollution and associated risks of lung disease, and Grades of Green’s steps for implementing No Idle Zones ensures that air quality initiatives are both effective and student-led. The article also featured Robinson Elementary’s success in creating a No Idle Zone on their Manhattan Beach campus, as well as Youth Corps Student Antonio’s work to inspire statewide no-idling legislation.

Grades of Green is proud that our work is being shared with Green Teacher Magazine’s readership of educators dedicated to fostering environmental learning, and that as a result, No Idle Zones will expand to a broader network of school communities.

Center Street Elementary School featured their Grades of Green waste reduction activities on El Segundo TV! The segment highlighted the school’s waste reduction efforts through Grades of Green Activities such as Trash Free Lunches and Campus Composting. Center Street Elementary School also implements other Grades of Green Activities such as No Idle Zones, In-Class Recycling, and much more. Learn more about Center Street Elementary School’s efforts to go green and get ready to be inspired by watching the video clip here!

Center Street School Grades of Green – What’s Up El Segundo

Grades of Green Youth Corps Eco-Leadership students Lila M. and Sienna A. were interviewed by food coach and fitness & nutrition reporter Lori Corbin on ABC7 News! The segment highlighted Grand View Elementary School where Grades of Green first started back in 2010. Although the school has already taken on multiple Grades of Green Activities from Walk to School Wednesdays and trash-free lunches to composting and replacing paper flyers with reusable chalk boards, Grand View plans to continue its efforts to make a better planet. Check out the video clip here to learn more about how Grades of Green is carrying out its mission to inspire and empower kids to care for the environment.

Grades of Green students in Manhattan Beach teach others on how to save the planet _ abc7.