We’ve made a commitment to sustainability and developing healthier, cleaner lifestyles
As our students develop a better understanding of human impact on the planet, they create a deeper connection with their environment and their role in the world. From a young age, our students understand that with simple but significant actions, we can make a difference.
In 2019, we received the Bronze Award by the National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-School USA for our efforts in sustainability. The recognition is the result of our Winter Term waste audit and subsequent action plans, the creation of sustainability clubs in both the Middle and Upper Schools, and on-campus recycling and composting efforts. The last of which prevents 76 pounds of food waste from entering a landfill (while producing 16 pounds of recycling) every school day.
Our school gardens are powerful tools for experiential learning. Through planting and managing our school gardens, students become responsible caretakers, engaging in agricultural practices on a small scale, while learning about responsible farming and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Together, students and faculty explore the web of interactions among the crops, insects, soil conditions, and environmental factors as they develop their “green thumbs.”
Our school gardens, The Polly Rizzotto Greenhouse, and The Jay Sadlon Children's Garden, are living resources for all divisions of our Derby community. Just steps away from our dining hall, perennial herbs, flowers, vegetables, garlic, sunflowers, and gourds are harvested so the school community can enjoy fresh produce throughout the year. Gardening projects are incorporated into curriculum units including science, environmental studies, nutrition, and art.
We’re using aeroponics to grow mixed lettuces, basil, and arugula right in our classrooms.
Our Tower Gardens can increase yields by as much as 30% and triple the speed of plant growth – all while using only 10% of the water and space!
We’re very proud of how students are stepping forward and really looking into how much impact small efforts can make.
Anne Benjamin, Sustainability Club Chair
Our annual, all-school Earth Week brings together faculty and students to expand recycling efforts and explore innovative ways to reduce waste. With days like Mother Earth Monday, Turn it Off Tuesday, and Threatened Animal Thursday, each day of Earth Week focuses on a sustainability theme and challenges the community to make impactful, straightforward actions to help the environment.
Students designed solar ovens to learn more about alternative energy. All-school Morning Meeting presentations on water consumption, threatened biomes, and ways to reuse materials shed light on the challenges and solutions for sustainability as the campus grew its appreciation for our planet and our campus.