Green programs win national notice: The ecological programs in the elementary schools of Manhattan Beach Unified School District have begun to attract some national attention.

Grand View Elementary School Principal Rhonda Steinberg recently spoke at the Green Schools National Conference in Minneapolis. Steinberg shared with educators, administrators and ecologists from all over the country the story behind the district’s ecology program, known as “Grades of Green.”

Through programs such as “Trash-Free Tuesday,” “Walk to School Wednesday,” e-waste recycling, composting and ecology education, Manhattan Beach schools have been able to reduce their carbon footprint.

In 2007, MBUSD and Waste Management, a trash hauler, embarked on a private-public partnership to launch school-based waste and recycling programs as well as energy conservation practices. In the first year, recycling across the district increased by 23 percent, and electricity consumption was reduced by 17 percent in one month – resulting in an annual cost-savings of $150,000, according to district officials.