Improving Health and Wellness: The Quest for the Green Ribbon

  • Child Development
  • Health and Wellness
Lynda Sailor & Alison Weems


Since 2012, the State of Colorado has welcomed 18 statewide educational institutions to the coveted status of “Green Ribbon School.” The award, issued as part of the US Department of Education, honors America’s public and private elementary, middle and high schools for their efforts toward improving student health and achievement and reducing their environmental impact.


In November 2019, Aspen Academy completed an extensive application including celebrations of accomplishments in the following Pillars:

Pillar 1: Reduced Environmental Impact and Costs

Pillar 2: Improved Health and Wellness

Pillar 3: Effective Environmental and Sustainability Education


Aspen Academy has created a focus on improving health and wellness in a number of ways, including:

  • Each student participates in at least one fitness-related class every day. Forty-percent (40%) of physical education classes are held outside. 

  • Faculty and staff participate actively in the “Wellable” fitness program.

  • The Aspen Youth Leadership Institute (AYLI) provides a curriculum that addresses the development of emotional and social intelligence as well as community and civic leadership at Aspen. 

  • The cafeteria contracts with a local food service that provides locally-sourced ingredients.


We continue through the process for this prestigious distinction and will share more about the final pillar in a forthcoming blog. 


This is the second in a series of three blogs about Green Ribbon Awards. To read more related blogs, visit: Reducing Environmental Impact and Costs: The Quest for the Green Ribbon.


About the Authors

Lynda Sailor, Co-Founder, Business & Operations Director

Lynda co-founded Aspen Academy because she has always believed in education that can make the world a better place. Lynda has served in several roles during her more than decade long run at Aspen and is currently the Business & Operations Director. In 2019, she received the National Association of Business Officer's Will J. Hancock Unsung Hero Award for her extraordinary contributions to Aspen Academy and exceptional integrity, knowledge, and motivation.

Prior to developing her passion in education, Lynda worked as Performance Management Consultant and Retail Operations Manager at Ralston Purina, earning many distinctions including the Retail Excellence Award, the Customer Excellence Award, and the Innovator Award.

Lynda graduated summa cum laude from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Marketing with an emphasis in Human Resource Management.  She also has her MA in Organizational and Clinical Psychology. Lynda also serves on the Board of Directors and current Finance Chair for Real Colorado, one of the top ranked soccer clubs in the country.


Alison Weems, Owner of Greenify Colorado

Alison Weems is the owner of Greenify Colorado. As a sustainability consultant, Alison works with schools, businesses, and homeowners  to create, maintain and monitor sustainable systems. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies (with a focus in education) from Brown University in Rhode Island. Alison has worked in the field of education for over 20 years, teaching math and science to students, grades 4-12, at several independent schools.  As the Sustainability Coordinator at Mackintosh Academy Littleton for the past few years, Alison designed and implemented award-winning environmental programming for the school.  As a transplant from New England, Alison enjoys all that Colorado has to offer with her husband, 2 college-age kids, and her dog. 


About the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Award

U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) is a federal outreach initiative structured as a recognition award that helps to promote effective school sustainability and collaboration. By highlighting schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions’ cost-saving, health promoting, and performance-enhancing sustainability practices, it seeks to encourage other institutions to adopt these practices as well. For more information, click here.