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State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced April 20 that Hollister High School is one of 14 schools in the state to have earned a 2023 California Green Ribbon Schools award. 

“We congratulate this year’s honorees,” Thurmond said. “California Green Ribbon Schools exemplify leading-edge models for improved indoor air quality, outdoor classrooms, and whole-school environmental education. Students in these schools address global problems such as climate change and local challenges including water quality, food security, energy conservation, waste diversion and emotional health.” 

San Benito High School District’s Manager of Maintenance, Operations, Transportation and Facilities Kristy Bettencourt said in a press release from the district, “It is exciting to see the progress that the District has made toward ensuring a more sustainable campus. I look forward to continuing additional practices so that we can maintain a campus that promotes good stewardship of the environment.”

Among the initiatives cited in Hollister High School’s Green Ribbon School application are the planting of drought-resistant plants and trees, campus recycling programs, bioswales to capture stormwater runoff and the addition of solar panels on the north and south sides of campus, according to SBHSD. The district’s energy efficiency conservation and sustainability efforts have resulted in more than $1.5 million in energy savings from July 2017 through February of this year and are projected to reach or exceed $14 million in savings over the next 20 years.

The installation of solar panels in Baler Alley along with the addition of efficient HVAC and climate control systems have reduced electrical consumption by 6,607 MWh, which equates to removing 220 cars from the road, preserving 31,360 trees from deforestation, and powering 157 Hollister homes per year, according to district staff. 

Phase 2 includes the addition of rooftop solar panels on the Career Technical Education Building and the ground mount solar farm in the southwest corner of campus, both of which are expected to go online this Spring and increase the energy savings.

Baler students engage with civic and community projects related to the environment, both through the campus Environmental Club and through Environmental Science classes. Outdoor learning environments are incorporated into the curriculum of chemistry and engineering classes.

Hollister High School Environmental Science teacher Ryan Shorey called the Green Ribbon designation “a huge accomplishment that not many schools achieve.” Shorey added, “We are proud that the efforts we have made so far have allowed us to at least achieve a bronze status of the Green Ribbon award. That also tells us that there is still more we can do, and we look forward to continue striving for greater levels of sustainability on campus.”

The school’s application also cited staff wellness initiatives, the utilization of electric buses, and the district’s adopt-a-tree program, through which more than 200 trees have been planted throughout campus in recent years, according to the district. 

SBHSD Superintendent Dr. Shawn Tennenbaum said, “I am very proud of the efforts that have been made by our school community to establish a strong foundation built on sustainability, energy efficiency, and improving the campus environment both in and outside of the classroom. Congratulations to our staff, students, administrators and Board of Trustees for their continued support and commitment. The hard work and dedication by all involved to improve the learning and working conditions on campus is another testament to our belief in continuous improvement. This is another reminder that it is always a great day to be a Baler.”

John Corrigan, president of the SBHSD Board of Trustees, noted, “The Green Ribbon recognition is a wonderful honor, and a testament to the environmentally friendly steps we’ve taken at Hollister High. The solar farms and the hundreds of trees the team has planted are evidence of our commitment to a greener future for our students and our community.”

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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