Because of its commitment to student health and well-being, Green Elementary School has been named the first Blue Zones Project Approved school in the Umpqua Valley.

The faculty, staff, parents and full student body participated in a ceremony, complete with a ribbon cutting, on Wednesday. The assembly included a skit by Gustina, the Green Dragon mascot, an appearance from Interim Superintendent Robert Freeman, water bottles for each child and Go Noodle exercises.

While the school was approved by successfully completing the Blue Zones Project School Pledge, Green Elementary was already doing many things to help increase the wellness of its community. Classrooms integrate physical activity into daily lesson plans using the OSU Extension Balanced Energy Physical Activity toolkit, enhance lunch by including healthy options, use an annual jog-a-thon as a fundraiser — which gets kids used to moving naturally — and use celebrations, such as birthdays, as opportunities to teach health alternatives that promote positive learning and behaviors.

Kirk Blaine, project manager for Blue Zones, led Green Elementary School through the process of becoming an approved school.

“It has been amazing working with Principal Amy Rodriguez and all of Green Elementary,” he said. “They are truly invested into creating a healthy, happy environment for children and the community.”

“Our staff is dedicated to serving the whole child,” Rodriguez said. “We strongly believe that students achieve higher levels of academic success when they are part of a school environment that focuses on student safety, academic growth, social/emotional and physical well-being. The support we have received from Kirk and Blue Zone Project-Umpqua will help springboard us to a new level of excellence as a school that is moving from good to great. This is a wonderful opportunity to model for our children how a community working strongly together can impact positive change.”

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Community Reporter

Erica Welch is the special sections editor for The News-Review, mother of two and a native of Roseburg. She is an alumni of RHS, UCC and Western Oregon University. Contact her at or 541-957-4218.

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