Eighth Annual Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award Given to St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School
The 2016 Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award was presented to St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School (SSSAS) in Alexandria. The award was presented during the Alexandria Earth Day celebration on Saturday, April 30, an event sponsored by the City of Alexandria Environmental Policy Commission and Alexandria Renew Enterprises.
Over the last decade, SSSAS has worked to make its buildings efficient, optimize transportation systems, and reduce solid waste through recycling, improved purchasing, and paperless communication. To increase awareness of energy consumption and encourage responsible energy use in classrooms and offices, the school maintains a real-time energy dashboard that reports school progress of energy consumption.
The school also integrates sustainability into its curriculum. Students learn about watersheds through hands-on activities at many of Alexandria’s waterways and participate in cleanups along the Potomac River. Students also participate in tree planting activities to increase Alexandria’s tree canopy. As part of broader outreach, SSSAS hosts the annual Students for Sustainability Conference, which brings 250 students together from around the region for a day of environmental education and camaraderie. National and local speakers and activists share their passion and expertise with the students and engage them in a day full of hands-on activities to encourage their advocacy for environmental awareness and action.
The Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award is named in memory of Mrs. Pickering for her lifelong dedication to local preservation and conservation. She helped create the Mount Vernon Trail between Alexandria and Washington, D.C., and urged the adoption of the City’s Open Space Plan. Mrs. Pickering also implemented the planting of 1,000 community-donated cherry trees during her tenure as Chair of the Alexandria Beautification Commission. She was a member of the Alexandria Sanitation Authority’s Board of Directors and served on the Alexandria City Council and numerous boards and commissions.