Prospect Sierra’s 2018 Earth Week began Sunday, April 22, the date celebrated internationally as Earth Day since 1970. Here at Prospect Sierra there are continued efforts to deepen the curriculum and practices around sustainability every day. Earth Week allows us to take pause and acknowledge this year’s projects and share some special events that the kids are spearheading or participating in around environmental issues.
Here are just some of the events that took place on both campuses during Earth Week.
- Salad Lunch: Students enjoyed a salad lunch made with lettuce grown in the Tapscott garden by 4th graders accompanied by veggies supplied by classmates.
- Waste-free Lunch Day: Students were encouraged to bring a waste-free lunch, both in terms of contents and packaging.
- Abby’s Walking School Bus: Students walked to school as a group from Abby’s house in support of finding ways to reduce our carbon footprint.
- Green Commute Day: Families reduced their transportation carbon footprint during morning drop-offs and afternoon pick-ups by using bart, bus, carpools, walking, or biking.
- Fashion Trashion Show: 4th graders designed and produced outfits created out of trash and recycled materials and presented their upcycled, eco-friendly fashion to the school community.
- Photo Ark: Students contributed to a special collection of photographs to honor animals in our community and think about the connections between animal life and sustainability.
- Bicycle blended organic smoothies at lunch.
- Morning meeting conversations around personal choices and the creation of a tree sculpture, which includes sustainability commitments from students and staff.
- Ecoliteracy work in classrooms around environmental justice, soil health, climate change, plastic ocean pollution, and more.
- Green Commute Challenge throughout the month of April.
A Quick History of Our Commitment to Sustainability
For over a decade Prospect Sierra has been a school leader in green curriculum and practices. In 2013 the school was awarded the prestigious U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School Award. Prospect Sierra was the only independent school from California, and only one of four California schools that year, to receive the award. After receiving the award the school didn’t stop our work, instead deepening our commitment and becoming an even greener school. We are guided by our 2015-2020 Strategic Plan: “Focus for the Future,” in which one of six core priorities is greening and ecoliteracy.
The school has a faculty green committee, parent sustainability committee, middle school student green committee, elementary student garden club, an overarching Green Council, and vibrant K-8 ecoliteracy programming. These groups do so much work throughout the year and Earth Week is an opportunity to bring these groups together to celebrate all of the environmental efforts of our community.
Below are some of the many sustainability projects undertaken or completed during the 2017-18 school year:
- Avis pollinator garden: offers opportunities for scientific observation of flower anatomy, seasonality, growth patterns, insect behavior, and more
- Avis upper hillside yard new platform: furthers the usability of the upper hillside nature area by providing space for outdoor learning or gathering.
- 6th grade science growing station: allows easy integration of ecoliteracy concepts into curriculum and hands-on-learning.
- Tapscott vertical garden: creates additional ways to study cultivated vegetation in the garden.
- Expansion of native garden at front of school as well as near development office at Tapscott.
- Carpool map: created by 2nd graders for families to use. Students used and learned about maps, along with technology, to create carpool groups based on zip code to help reduce our carbon footprint; connects to 2nd grade curriculum about maps.
- Avis and Tapscott non-toxic green classroom cleaning supplies: centralized, bulk purchasing of green classroom cleaning products to help reduce students exposure to allergens and chemicals in a uniform manner.
- Avis and Tapscott bulk compostability closets: centralized, bulk purchasing of compostable event-ware for campus-wide events reducing the schools overall waste.
- Tapscott backyard produce cart: a place for the PS community to share surplus backyard produce and encourage diverse, healthy eating.
- Waste-free lunch container bulk purchasing: provides the PS community with centralized, bulk buying of waste-free lunch containers at wholesale prices.
Wondering how you can get involved or want to learn more? The following people are great resources:
- Steve Harrington, Director of Facilities
- Melody Esquer (Tapscott) and Jesse Feldman (Avis), Faculty Green Committee
- Jamie Kennedy, PSPA Sustainability Committee
- Melody Esquer and Adrienne Denning, Tapscott Garden Group
As always, thank you for helping us deepen our commitment to caring for the earth all year long!