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Manzo Elem. School recognized as a Best Green School for 2012 by the U.S. Green Building Council

 Posted January 17, 2013

The U.S. Green Building Council's Center for Green Schools has announced its second annual Best of Green Schools list, recognizing Tucson Unified School District's Manzo Elementary School for being one of two Best K-12 Green Schools in the nation. Manzo is the only K-12 public school in the United States to receive the honor. The annual list, which also includes colleges, businesses and policy makers, highlights educational institutions and individuals across the country for embracing environmental initiatives.

"I've always realized the uniqueness and relevance of our program to our school and surrounding communities, but to be recognized nationally is truly mind-blowing," says Manzo Principal Mark Alvarez.

Manzo Elementary, 855 N. Melrose Ave., was recognized for its Reconciliation Ecology Project and the promotion of stewardship, healthy choices and innovation in learning and educational facilities. Linda Cato, a local leader in green school advocacy, nominated Manzo for the honor.

"From the earthen water collection jars, to the chickens, composting, and gardening, Manzo has used all of its green initiatives to enhance learning and as the basis for its counseling program, while empowering its students (overwhelmingly from economically disadvantaged families) to become sustainability natives and future advocates for their communities," Cato wrote in her nomination.

Manzo is reconnecting young children to nature and their food sources, the center says of the recognition, and notes that green entrepreneurship is being promoted and sustainability is becoming the new norm.

"It's been incredible to watch our ecology program grow from a handful of students with shovels in a vacant lot in Barrio Hollywood into a transformative force in this community, and with this award recognized on a national level," says Moses Thompson, counselor at Manzo Elementary.

 Photo of Moses Thompson

Moses Thompson, Manzo Counselor
 Photo of wildflowers

Wildflowers bloom in the school garden.
 Photo of watering cans

Students are active participants in growing crops.
 Photo of desert habitat

A resident tortoise lives in the desert habitat in the school courtyard.
 Photo of water harvesting units

Water harvesting provides irrigation for the garden.