Teaching Green

Environmental education is sprinkled throughout George School course offerings like dispersed seeds. In addition to two dedicated environmental science courses, other science classes use our beautiful campus’ natural areas as their lab. Whether conducting experiments on water, soil, or air quality or observing animals in their habitat, students experience firsthand the complexities of nature.

Meanwhile, in Essentials of a Friends Community, freshmen grapple with what it means to live responsibly. Organic gardening, a physical education elective, gets students to work the earth along with their bodies, and to acquire a better understanding of nutrition.

But environmental education isn’t constrained to class time. Assembly speakers present on topics from climate change to wildlife ecology and native plants. Faculty members lead morning campus bird walks or weekend outings to wilderness areas. “Mind the Lights” stickers near light switches are one of many efforts to educate about energy consumption. As with service, students grow to understand that even small actions, undertaken in a spirit of community, can make a big impact.

In keeping with George School’s belief that all members of the community are teachers as well as learners, some of the most passionate environmental educators are students.

Terra, George School’s environmental club, shares its acquired wisdom about subjects as varied as bottled water and vegetative roofs. In February, it leads the school in the annual Green Cup Challenge, an energy-consumption-reduction competition against other schools. A little intramural (inter-dorm) rivalry with an ice cream party prize makes the challenge that much more fun. Terra also runs the Environmental Awareness Weekend, around Earth Day, with activities like litter sweeps, tree plants, and dinner in the dark or the organic garden. George School students distinguish themselves off campus, too, taking part in environmental congresses and serving as Green School Fellows of the Green Schools Alliance.

The (convenient) truth is that members of the George School community aren’t just intellectually curious. They’re environmentally curious, as well as involved, committed, and always learning.