2019/2020 Going Green Winners Annouced

2019/2020 Going Green Winners Annouced

by Mallory King -
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When we started Going Green six years ago in 2014, we came up with a slogan that we never would have expected could be so accurate as it turned out this spring: When the going gets tough, the tough go green! And yet, faced with the unprecedented situation of a global pandemic, nationwide school closures, and this situation’s repercussions on our daily lives, this year’s project participants impressively demonstrated that building a better, greener future starts at our own doorsteps. 

As the sixth cycle of the Going Green project is coming to an end, we are incredibly proud of everyone who submitted something to our competition! We recognize how difficult it must have been given the current circumstances. It must have taken a lot of effort from every student and teacher’s end to “come together” for this year’s project.

So hats off to you and we thank you for your devotion to the environment and this project through this difficult time! We received a variety of creative submissions from a cookbook to a logo encouraging people to be greener.

Over seven hundred students and their teachers registered on Teach About U.S. for the 2019/2020 Going Green cycle, but many more engaged in the project ‘offline’ with overall 47 participating courses in almost all parts of Germany and some in the U.S. They spent many weeks learning about sustainable activities. Students focused on a variety of topics, from researching biodiversity and micro-plastics, to fair fashion options in their local community to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the environment. Learning about all the things you have been working on in the last several months was inspiring to us as well!

The Teach About U.S. team and our partners are delighted to announce the following student projects as winners of the Going Green 2020 Awards! Congratulations to all students and teachers!

These are the winning projects:

Going Green Award goes to: Small Steps- Big Impact 

by the biology and global citizenship courses at Schuldorf Bergstraße and East Bay German International School.


Schuldorf Bergstraße and East Bay German International School wrote a bilingual cookbook, and it is incredible. We are excited to try some of the recipes ourselves. The cookbook doesn’t just have great green recipes, but it touches on why the recipes are green. Some of the hardest parts of being green in the kitchen is not knowing where to begin. Each individual recipe has a comment explaining how it reduces our impact on the environment, which helps someone trying to be a greener cook get a better idea of what to look out for when shopping. The cookbook is a delicious collection of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack ideas. I know I am going to start cooking some of these myself. 

Something that makes this project so special is what it must have taken to assemble. With over 20 recipes, each one including photos of the students cooking and   their finished cookbook, it really is a page turner. We really appreciated seeing each student being active not just in the classroom, but in the kitchen too. The students have initiated a project in which each of us can participate now that we have a green cookbook. 

The cookbook includes English and German recipes and even translates the calculations of measurement for each ingredient.

Going Green Award goes to: GoingGreenTogether: One Day Without Plastic

by the English course at Louise-Henriette Gymnasium and Odyssey Charter School.

Louise-Henriette Gymnasium and Odyssey Charter School produced a video that highlights not only problems for the environment, but also gives tips to help us be green in and out of the supermarket. And the best part for us is: the video also provides a review of a well known green product. Well done!

The video starts with a series of powerful photos reminding us just how destructive plastic is to the environment. It then provides several useful ways in which we could try to use less plastic in our daily lives.

After studying the harmful repercussions of our “Throw Away Society”, the students decided to take check out what it means to make plastic free purchases.

They showed how much plastic we passively buy, but also how much less plastic we purchase when we consciously look for an alternative. The visual depiction is impressive. 

One interesting find during their shopping trip led to a product review of a bamboo toothbrush. Students looked at the fine details of a green product and researched many aspects of the product: the material of the brush, the packaging, as well as the place of production. They even “brushed” on how a product we think of as a green alternative can have negative effects on the environment. At the same time, they considered the other side of the debate, the difficulty of creating a 100% green product.

It was also wonderful to read the comments in response to their video. They provide us with insight into their collaboration with their American partner school.

Two thumbs up for even responding to questions in the comment section of the video, which required further research to adequately answer.

Going Green Award goes to: Clothes Swap - Reused Fashion

by the English course at Schuldorf Bergstraße 


A clothing swap, what a wonderful idea! It is a great social activity and can help spread the word about the importance of thinking about the products we purchase. Everyone wins, just as the students pointed out, and it is an easy way to make change, while not having to give anything up… with the exception of your old clothes. 

This initiative is a great way to start important conversations regarding our consumer habits and how they affect the environment and our communities. Supporting the event with research on the production and shipping of our clothes was a great way to help all of us better understand where every individual can make a difference.  A map of where over a hundred pieces of clothing came from in addition to looking at what clothing material is used, is a great way to get to know your own buying trends. In addition, we appreciated and enjoyed reading about how much you grew together and learned throughout the project. The photos show how much fun you had during the event and of course how great you looked in your new clothes!

Going Green Award goes to: Sustainable Living in Future Lüneburg

By the English course at Herderschule Lüneburg 

Three very different projects in one collaboration show us how creative Herderschule looked at being green locally. One group designed a powerful logo for a campaign for better bike paths in the area and even included specific suggestions of how and where to put their plan into action. A second group engaged in extensive research on where to buy fair fashion. And lastly and perhaps most impressively a massive undertaking by a single student who turned the entire backyard lawn into a bountiful garden with a little help by the mother.

This student was not named in their submission; who, we believe, deserves an extra special shout out. We have never seen such a massive undertaking from a single student. It even came with an explanation on they turned a large overgrown backyard into a massive garden. The garden they planted included, but was not limited to: cucumbers, carrots, radishes, onions, turnips, leek, kale, potatoes, various spices, and berry plants as well as apple, cherry and plum trees. We find your efforts jaw dropping spectacular and wish you an extra bountiful harvest. 

We applaud your creativity and hope that Luneburg continues to “grow” greener in the near future with your efforts!

Going Green Award goes to: Can Facade Greening Reduce the Effects of Urban Heat Islands? by the E-Phase Biology course at Goethe Gymnasium

facade greening

This project is an insightful example of how students joined forces to produce an action plan despite the complications of the current school closures. The students at Goethe Gymnasium Frankfurt did in-depth research on the role of facade greening and how it impacts city climates. Along with their research report, the students of the bilingual biology course produced a video to communicate their idea. 

The video editing for this project was incredible! This must have been very challenging with the pandemic. In addition the amount of research you did to come up for this video is nothing less than impressive. You touched on many interesting ideas of how beneficial facade greening is. We particularly liked how you talked about the cooling effects of plants on buildings! You highlighted some very “cool” ways your local community could be greener. Don’t think it went unnoticed how almost every one of the students used a green background for their part in the video. Well done!

While these five projects stand out, others are close runner-ups and deserve our recognition for their creativity and hard work. 

Honorable Mention

What Makes a City Green 

by the English course at Hans-Thoma- Gymnasium


Your poster was well thought out. It was very visually appealing and we appreciated how many different aspects you considered. There are many ways to be a greener society and you really highlighted who can help and how we can work toward a greener society!

Honorable Mention

Corona Crisis Lessons for the Environment 

by the English course at LernZeitRäume

Focusing on an issue so current is always difficult. We applaud you for focusing on something so important today. It is difficult to see the positives in a pandemic and we appreciate your positive thinking during this difficult time! You reflected on some important areas that could be positively changed in response to the pandemic.  We hope to see some of the changes you mentioned. In addition the formats you used to show your project was slick, fun and modern. A combination of different formats including a Padlet, a fun alternative to Powerpoint as well as an Explain Video.

Honorable Mention

Portland as Role Model for Other Cities

By the Going Green course at Hans-Thoma-Gymnasium 

Looking at a city such as Portland, as a role model to others is a good way of learning more about the action we should be taking, the measures that work, the difficulties of keeping a city green and lastly knowing what the next steps are to help our city. The research you did was great and showed the city from a variety of perspectives!  Keep up the good work!

Thank you again to all those who participated. Stay safe and healthy!

 #Competition  #GoingGreen