Grant and Green Ribbon School Nomination for SEA

School of Engineering and Arts (SEA) Secures Grant and Green Ribbon School Nomination
Posted on 03/03/2020
Students measure distance outsideLocated in Golden Valley, Minnesota and part of the Robbinsdale Area School District, the School of Engineering and Arts (SEA), is rooted in the STEAM (science-technology-engineering-arts-math) philosophy. This philosophy provides K-5 elementary aged students with a stimulating and engaging atmosphere, fostering students’ innate curiosity and joy of discovery to achieve high levels of success.

The School of Engineering and Arts (SEA) was recently selected as a Minnesota nominee for the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Award. This nomination demonstrates significant achievement in the three Pillars of the Green Ribbon Schools Award: reducing environmental impact, improving health and wellness, and providing effective environmental education.

SEA recently secured a DNR grant as a part of the ‘No Child Left Inside’ grant program, with plans to use the funding to purchase equipment and supplies that will enhance outdoor learning opportunities for Kindergarten and first grade students. “We need to provide an environment that allows children to have a connection to our planet and gain knowledge about environmentally related content and concepts. By understanding natural resources, we promote sustainable behaviors, emphasizing responsible resource use as our population grows and consumes these limited assets”, said Cara Rieckenberg, Program Coordinator.

At SEA, students are frequently found outdoors learning in the prairie, butterfly garden, greenhouse, vegetable gardens,
or small forest (officially known as the SEA-cret Forest) per the partnership with the Minnesota Department of Natural
Resource (DNR). Students help to raise, make observations, and collect data from animals including chickens, tortoises, reptiles, a tarantula, and many fish including 300 rainbow trout through funding from the DNR. Fourth graders volunteer with Hennepin County’s RiverWatch program collecting, and reporting data from an adopted Creek twice annually. Kindergarten students plant tulips each fall and make observations each spring, reporting data to a citizen science website. Civic activism for sustainability practices occurs as students remind teachers and one another to conserve energy and to sort waste into compost, recycling or trash. The School of Engineering and Arts is committed to continuing its journey in environmental stewardship through educational efforts, partnerships and changes in practices in order to ensure best practices of sustainability and environmental education.