Congratulations to the 2018 Green School Award Winners!

LtoR: Environmental Leadership Award Winners: Balboa Middle School, Environmental Sustainability’s Brandon Kaysen (center), Poinsettia Elementary School

For a community to thrive, it needs to heed the three pillars of sustainability —economic, environmental, and social; meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same.

To that end, the City of Ventura Environmental Sustainability and Ventura Water annually recognize schools that demonstrate exemplary efforts in fostering the health and longevity of our community.

At the April 16th City Council meeting, Ventura Mayor Neal Andrews presented the Environmental Leadership Award to Balboa Middle School and Poinsettia Elementary School, while the Watershed Hero Award was presented to Ventura High School’s Environmental Club, the Greener World Action Team (GWAT) for their innovative campus programs.

Environmental Leadership Award

Balboa Middle School students, supervised by Organic Garden Club of Ventura’s Chris Massa, were honored in part for cultivating a Salad Bar Farm on the school grounds where they grow food for the school’s lunchroom salad bar. Additionally, during a school waste audit conducted working with the City’s Environmental Sustainability Division, it was discovered that an estimated 12,000 pounds of food is thrown away annually during lunch. With their cash award win, the school intends to purchase three Vermicompost bins for their garden where they can compost lunch food waste and use the worm castings in their garden to add nutrients to the soil.

At Poinsettia Elementary School, Principal Elisabeth Harris, alongside her school staff and parents, are in the process of raising funds to create an outdoor learning center for students to engage and learn about native plants, grow food, and hold plays in a natural amphitheater. To date, Poinsettia’s PTO has raised over $10,000 for this outdoor space and their Green School Award win will help contribute to their project.

Watershed Hero Award: Ventura High School

Watershed Hero Award

Ventura Water presented Ventura High School’s Environmental Club with this year’s Watershed Hero Award for their efforts protecting our local watershed and water resources by helping to mitigate stormwater pollution. This May 2018, Ventura High School’s students, staff, and volunteers, will partner with Surfrider Foundation to design an Ocean Friendly Garden. The garden, which will be planted with native plants, will incorporate rainwater retention features to provide CPR to the landscape, which will conserve water and prevent runoff by allowing rainwater to sink and be retained and cleaned in the landscape. The project will also serve as a demonstration garden for the public.


The City of Ventura’s Green School program offers free educational presentations to all local K-12 schools, pre-schools, environmental clubs, summer camps, colleges and after-school programs.  For more information, contact Brandon Kaysen by phone (805) 652-4593 or email