WARWICK — Park Avenue Elementary School and Warwick Valley High School have received New York State nominations to the 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, which recognizes school districts and post-secondary institutions for their sustainable facilities, health practices and exemplary environmental education.New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia made the announcement, stating that Warwick’s two schools would be the state’s nominees for 2018. 'Developing students to be environmental stewarts'In 2015, Warwick Valley became one of the very few school districts to adopt a policy to promote sustainability.“This charges us to maintain an aggressive program to reduce energy consumption, develop students to be environmental stewards and embrace recycling," School Board President Lynn Lillian said in the press release announcing the honors. "I believe that this designation is proof that we are indeed making significant progress toward this end.”Park Ave: Blue and Green ribbonsPark Avenue Elementary is the first school in New York state to receive both the National Blue Ribbon (academic excellence) and N.Y.S. Green Ribbon designations. “From composting efforts to recycling throughout the school, it is so exciting to see children receive effective environmental and sustainability education, including important civic learning,” School Board Vice President Sharon Davis.Warwick Valley High School is the first high school in New York to receive a N.Y.S. Green Ribbon School designation.The school’s Green Team raises awareness about recycling and the students participate in the Hudson Valley Envirothon. Throughout this competition, high school students demonstrate knowledge of soils, aquatics, forestry, wildlife and current issues.'Becoming a greener community'“It is important that our district is leading by example for our community, students and other schools," said Jason Touw, the Green Team advisor at Warwick Valley High School, "and I am proud to be a part of a school district that is placing sustainability near the forefront of our mission."The district’s focus to reduce its costs and environmental impact strengthens each school’s application. “We continue to reduce waste, water consumption, energy and greenhouse gases," said school board member David Eaton. "Our 10-acre solar field is a fine example. We eliminate an electric bill while becoming a greener community.”National Green Ribbon honorees will be announced by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on April 23, the day after Earth Day, followed by a national award ceremony this fall in Washington, D.C.