Eco-Schools Award

Eco-Schools Award Recipient: West Cape May Elementary School

West Cape May Elementary School is one of the most recent recipients of an Eco-Schools USA award in the state of New Jersey. With guidance from New Jersey Audubon, STEM teacher Cindy Baldacchini and her students earned a bronze award for their achievements in the sustainable food pathway.

Last fall, NJ Audubon led the school’s third graders through an audit of the food being served at their school. Students assessed the food’s nutritional value, the amount of waste being produced, and the number of miles the food traveled to get to the school. Based on their findings, they created an action plan to improve food sustainability.

The school’s vegetable garden proved to be a powerful educational tool. Students grew and harvested foods including potatoes and peppers and raised awareness about the value of healthy eating. As part of their action plan, they implemented a “Farm-to-School” snack time, allowing kids to enjoy fresh food from the garden as a healthy snack during the school day.

Through a partnership with Hank’s Sauce Company, the students learned about food production. They created, and thoroughly taste-tested their very own special hot sauce using locally-sourced ingredients.

The Eco-Schools USA program empowers students to take action toward a more sustainable future. Thanks to the PSEG Foundation and others, NJ Audubon is proud to host this free program available to all schools in New Jersey. Learn more and register at


Photo: Students harvest green beans from the garden to enjoy as a healthy snack.