Cynthia Merse (
email@example.com) is the Content Manager for the
Green Schools National Network (GSNN), managing content for the organization’s newsletter,
blog, social media channels, and Green Schools Catalyst Quarterly. She is also owner of
MerseCreative, a freelance technical writing and consulting business based in Knoxville,
Tennessee. Prior to joining GSNN and starting her own business, Cynthia worked for the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency on several high-level, national scale projects that concerned
children’s environmental health and healthy school environments. Cynthia obtained her B.E. in
Chemical Engineering from Vanderbilt University and M.S. in Environmental Policy and Planning
from Ohio University.
Charles B. J. Snyder Biography Retrieved from
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Results from the School Health Policies and Practices Study 2014. https://www.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child website:
Connecticut School Indoor Environment Resource Team website:
Foscue, Kenneth. (2017). Personal communication, March 3, 2017
Foscue, K. and Harvey, M. (2011). “A statewide multiagency intervention model for empowering schools to improve indoor
environmental quality.” Journal of Environmental Health.
74( 2): 8-15.
Healthy Schools Network. (2016). Toward Healthy Schools: Reducing Risks to Children. Albany, NY.
New York State Education Dept.(1994). Environmental Quality of Schools. Report to the New York State Board of Regents. Albany, p.
75. Retrieved from
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Asbestos and Schools Buildings website:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2012). Voluntary Guidelines for States: Development and Implementation of a School
Environmental Health Program.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2015). Voluntary Guidelines for States: Development and Implementation of a School
Environmental Health Program – Addendum.
mandate to produce the guidelines. Further, shifting
priorities and federal budget cuts have eliminated
many of EPA’s efforts to provide schools with training
and resources to help them address environmental
health issues, and there are no federal funds for
fixing or remediating schools. As of April 2017,
EPA’s remaining school programs, not to mention
other school-related programs run by other federal
agencies, are in jeopardy of being eliminated due to
further budget and programming cuts.
Despite these barriers to implementing school
environmental health policies and programs, there
are still opportunities to keep moving forward,
especially at the state-level. Many states already have
policies in place to address school environmental
health. What they need now are champions within
state agencies to advocate for these policies and the
benefits to students and school staff. Partnerships
with public and private organizations are also crucial
for building the capacity and resource base to sustain
efforts into the future. This reinforces how pivotal the
green schools movement can be in providing states
with the resources and networks to help them make
the case for clean, green, and healthy schools.