Mission and Values
Oregon Green Schools activates climate and sustainability leadership by providing an inclusive network and resources for students, schools and communities.
Why We Focus on Leadership
We recognize that youth create innovative solutions and catalyze the movement needed to create meaningful, lasting change.
We utilize a collaborative leadership model within the organization and regional chapters that exemplifies for students how equitable, community centered systems lead to success.
How We Operate
Our board of sustainability, education and industry leaders guide OGS’ strategic goals and operational framework in collaboration with our staff and our statewide network of regional coordinators. Our staff develop programming, fundraise, and organize events, and our regional coordinators conduct direct outreach in schools, develop relationships with teachers and staff, and partner with green teams through the OGS certification process. We provide a central point of information, curated resources, and 1:1 support responsive to the needs and goals of students and schools. Our operations are guided by the principles of transparency, collaboration and equity.
What We Do
Oregon Green Schools (OGS) is a nonprofit organization, founded in 1997, that provides free assistance and support to schools across the state. We support schools in establishing and maintaining conservation and sustainability programs that shape the next generation of environmental leaders. We are operated by a volunteer board of directors with funding support from partners, sponsors, and members.
Our outreach is rooted in a comprehensive certification framework, student events and a network of regional coordinators that provide coaching and technical assistance. OGS connects green team leaders to learning resources and activities, funding sources and local experts that can help guide schools on their sustainability journey.
We are uniquely positioned within the environmental education sector to nurture a thriving network of students, schools and communities, building mutually beneficial relationships with educators, government agencies and sustainability professionals. We serve as a bridge, bringing sustainability experts and organizations together in order to foster innovation and avoid duplicating services.
Environmental Stewardship: We believe in prioritizing climate action and a commitment to teaching students, schools and communities how to protect and conserve resources within the natural landscape and built environment.
Collective Accountability and Integrity: We commit to holding ourselves and the OGS Community accountable to our values and to creating a learning space founded on transparency and accessible communication. We commit to continue learning and to apologize when we make mistakes. We will speak up when we witness harm and take appropriate action.
Collaborative Leadership: We commit to centering the needs of those we serve and to intentionally modeling the functions and benefits of shared leadership to our stakeholders and beneficiaries. We will build a culture allowing space for everyone’s voice to be heard and factored into our decision making processes.
Optimistic Realism: We commit to pursuing our mission with optimism while setting healthy boundaries around toxic positivity and maintaining a realistic outlook. We will remain determined, mission driven, and attuned to the realities of environmental injustice.
Holistic Community Engagement: We commit to look at the entire system (ecosystem, communities, socio-political influences, and systematic actions and drivers (e.g., oppression)) and to collaborate with our community wholeheartedly. We will examine the impact of environmental education and maintain a systemic approach to education that includes mental health and physical needs of students and communities as well as the needs of the natural environment. We will advocate for equitable policies and practices that impact people where they live, work and study that will ultimately improve living-conditions and health for all.
Ongoing Growth: We commit to adapt and change as we learn. We will not accept the status quo but will instead approach our work with the understanding that sustainability and equity work are ever evolving as community needs change over time.
Our Commitment to Equity
Oregon Green Schools does not discriminate or tolerate discrimination based on people’s identities (including but not limited to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, socio-economic class, physical or mental abilities). OGS is committed to providing students with opportunities to learn about and engage in sustainability initiatives that reflect their cultures, values, and lived experiences. We strive to include and uplift diverse voices in meaningful ways and to ensure that our programming holds tangible value for the communities we serve. In order to center the lives of people most impacted by social and environmental injustices, we will increase and continue listening, learning and taking action.
How We Are Working to be More Equitable
We are currently holding monthly anti-racism study groups for our board and staff. We recognize that we need to learn from and center those most impacted by inequities (including but not limited to Black, indigenous, hispanic, latinx, asian, pacific islander and other people of color) in our anti-racism work. Our team will be participating in training sessions to deepen our understanding and evaluate our operations and programming. We will make changes as we learn and grow. We are working to expand our reach to offer our programming in underserved communities.