A Brief Tour of Sustainability Initiatives At The College School


Sustainability is alive and well at The College School, a local independent school program for children ages 3 through eighth grade. Projects underway are described on a series of signs placed around campus. The signs, designed to educate and inspire readers, highlight the following sustainability initiatives: • Permeable pavers on school parking lots to minimize storm water runoff • The greenhouse as a means to teach plant science • The wind turbine, a student-initiated project on renewable energy • Composting organic waste as a method of recycling which enhances the soil • The playground “River” and stream ecology • Solar panels as a source of renewable energy • Rain barrels as a water collection device • The green roof, as an example of green building techniques • The gardens as a means of teaching sustainable food production • Native plant species projects as an example of “growing native” In addition to inspiring our own school community, the school hopes to educate and motivate area educators to embark on their own sustainability projects. To this end, the school hosted a Science Coffee Talk on Sustainability in September 2009 in partnership with KETC-Channel 9, Commerce Bank, UMSL’s Bridge Pre-Collegiate Program and City Academy. Over 40 representatives from area school districts, universities and non-profit organizations participated in the Science Coffee Talk and saw examples of sustainability education in action. In a series of breakout sessions, some participants viewed The College School’s greenhouse, gardens, wind turbine and rain barrel water collection system. Others experienced a “Garden to Kitchen” preschool cooking project, viewed seventh grade public service announcements on environmental issues, and sat in on an eighth grade Field Ecology class. During the summer of 2010, the school purchased 28 acres of land in Pacific, Missouri, approximately 30 minutes from campus. The land enhances opportunities for students to study science in the field. Already, third grade is studying the various plant and animal communities there, and fourth grade soon will be evaluating the water quality of the creek. Eighth graders also ventured to the property recently to begin their trimester-long study of Field Ecology. They tested scientific equipment and sought to classify the aspects of the ecosystem. Sustainability will continue to be a strong focus at The College School in the coming years and students will learn how to carry this knowledge forward into the wider world as they graduate. Hopefully, The College School will also lead other schools by example. To learn more visit www.thecollegeschool.org or call 314-962-9355.