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Old Trail Receives State's Top Honor for Environmental Stewardship

Old Trail Receives State's Top Honor for Environmental Stewardship


Old Trail School has been recognized by the state of Ohio for its efforts to protect Ohio’s environment and for continuing to show a commitment to environmental stewardship.

For its efforts, Old Trail was presented the Leaf Award by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. It is the top honor awarded to public and private K-12 schools through the EPA’s Encouraging Environmental Excellence in Education program. OTS is one of just three schools statewide to receive the Leaf Award this year, joining Dublin Jerome High School in Union County and Hilliard Brown Elementary School in Franklin County. 

“Old Trail School takes immense pride in its legacy of leadership within the realm of sustainability,” said OTS Head of School Sarah Johnston. “Our commitment to environmental stewardship is deeply ingrained in every aspect of our school, from our thoughtfully designed campus to our nature-based curriculum. Our location in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park inspires us daily and allows us to incorporate the natural world in all we do. We are grateful to be recognized by the State of Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for the work we do with our curious and dedicated students.”

The EPA praised Old Trail for its ownership and operation of a 1,250 panel solar array that generates 304 kW of power for the school—representing one-third of the school’s annual power requirements. The EPA also noted Old Trail’s energy-efficient practices, including the operation of a wetlands-based water treatment system and a composting program in the dining hall. 

“Ohio is the heart of sustainability, and we’re committed to recognizing those at the forefront of innovation and stewardship,” said Ohio EPA Director Anne M. Vogel.  “We’re excited to reward companies that are helping children grow up in a safe environment and partnering to support the communities they call home. Their work inspires all of us to do more, and we are proud to share in their success.”

As the nation’s only independent school located within a national park, Old Trail’s unique location not only distinguishes itself but, more importantly, provides the perfect backdrop for students to explore the natural world, gain a deeper appreciation for the outdoors and become better stewards of the environment without sacrificing critical learning opportunities. 

2023 E4 Award Winners

Leaf

  • Old Trail School (Summit County)
  • Dublin Jerome High School (Union County)
  • Hilliard Brown Elementary School (Franklin County)

Branch

  • Dover Intermediate School (Cuyahoga County)
  • George G Dodge Intermediate School (Cuyahoga County)
  • Marion L Steele High School (Lorain County)
  • Teays Valley High School (Franklin County)
  • Upper Valley Career Center (Miami County)

Root

  • Madison Middle School (Richland County)
  • Northwood Elementary School (Union County) 

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Exterior photo of Firestone Hall at dusk