Campus Life


  • Ian's Oil Filtration System

    Car Powered by Cafeteria Vegetable Oil

    Ian Van Wert, Upper School science teacher and advisor for the Environmental Action Club, is fueling his newly purchased deisel car with used vegetable oil from the GFS cafeteria.

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  • Garden

    A Native Plant Garden was installed on the GFS campus by Project Flow in the summer of 2011 using a $4000 grant from Recycle Bank.

Environmental Stewardship

Stewardship of the environment is essential tenet of our Quaker beliefs. Germantown Friends School is a member of the Friends Environmental Education Network (FEEN) whose goal is to promote both education and action within our schools around the issues of environmental stewardship and sustainability. With the help of some of our science faculty and the faculty members of the Stewardship Commitee, GFS is committed to working toward these goals.


Over the course of the past years, many steps have been taken by the GFS in partnership with the local community to incorporate sustainability into our educational program. It is with great humility that the community hopes to build on these first important steps and continue in our efforts towards environmental sustainability.  Please feel free to contact us with ideas or opportunities to further this goal.

Environmental Action Clubs

Each of our divisions has an Environmental Action Club with faculty and students working together towards the goal of sustainability.  The following is a sampling of what they do.

Lower School - Earth Day…every day!

Fourth Grade EAC:

Fourth graders are invited to join the Environmental Action Club for 10 weeks in the Spring. The club meets after school one day each week. Each year the students brainstorm different ways to reduce our carbon footprint and then implement one or more plans using the Earth Force paradigm. This program encourages students to research and direct their own ideas and to report back to the community.

In addition to their Earth Force Project that resulted in a certification from the National Wildlife Federation, last year fourth graders hosted two guest speakers from the Nature Conservatory and the TTF Watershed Partnership who shared their own careers in environmental education. The children also learned about rattlesnake rescue.  The killing of these snakes lead to an overabundance of rodents in our environment.

Fifth Grade EAC:

Interested fifth graders are invited to apply to join the Environmental Action Club, which meets weekly every Monday afternoon from the end of September through the end of the school year. The EAC is affiliated with the national organization Earth Force, and strives to nurture and develop environmentally responsible citizens who:

  • Understand environmental issues
  • Know how to identify problems
  • Know how to research solutions and create a plan to solve problems using skills such as:
  • Public speaking (and speech writing)
  • Designing effective posters
  • On-line advocacy
  • Fund raising
  • Talking to people in power

Club size is limited to 20 students, there is a $30.00/year snack fee, and there is a mandatory parent volunteer component (two Mondays of the year).

Fifth Grade Environmental Action Club
does the following:

  • maintains the Lower School butterfly garden
  • has built and maintains the Lower School pond
  • is working to restore the Lower School  woods to a native plant habitat, by removing invasive species and planting more and more shrubs, trees and ferns that are native to PA.
  • is installing an outdoor benched classroom in the woods that will hold an entire class of students from any division. (gorgeous teak benches!!)
  • tends the school's gardens by weeding, pruning and watering
  • picks up trash all year
  • manages the school's own composting efforts.  They've had built and take care of all the cafeteria's vegetable and fruit wastes, as well as Lower School classroom compostables, and use the compost on school flower beds.
  • presents an assembly each year and often organizes some kind of campaign for the Lower School on some kind of relevant environmental topic:  No Waste Lunches, Composting, Recycling etc etc.
  • works with an area organization, Earth Force, and attends their Youth Summit each year (see link at left) where they perform some kind of stewardship serivce.

Middle School

The Middle School EAC meets once a week during lunch time activity period. Even within this limited time frame, the EAC members accomplish a lot.  In the past few years the students have:

  • watched clips of environmental documentaries and films
  • held a used battery collection drive
  • made a video about eutrophication to create awareness about the proper disposal of pet waste
  • held a T-shirt drive  and used the shirts to create reusable bags donated to Browsers
  • planned and participated in the Lexus Eco Challenge.

Upper School

The Upper school EAC has been working hard over the past two years to increase environmental awareness at GFS. Here are some of the events they have organized and held:

  • Partial Screenings of the films Kilowatt Ours and Food Inc, to increase awareness of the environmental issues involved in generating electricity and producing food.
  • Sales of healthy banana whips, and CFL light bulbs at the annual Fun Day.
  • Two Saturday mornings volunteering for trail maintenance and clean-up in the Wissahickon.
  • Running Awareness Campaigns about what is recyclable and what is not.
  • Creating a push for large scale composting at GFS and an awareness campaign about that
  •  Creating "Bike and Car Pool to School" weeks
  •  Initiating a "These Came From Trees" sticker campaign on paper towel dispensers, toilet paper dispensers, and printers to help raise additional awareness.

Environmental Stewardship News

Science Building Dashboard
Check out the GFS Science Building Dashboard

Learn more about Project Flow, a Ford Foundation funded summer project for upcoming ninth graders to explore the world of water.

Join our Lower School Environmental Action BLOG

Stewardship Committee

Karen Cherubini
Bernadette Geller
Megan Hess
Susan Lowry

EAC Advisors

Karen Cherubini
Lower School

Jessa Agner
Middle School

Upper School