The Quaker testimony of Stewardship embodies the art of taking care—of each other, of the spaces we inhabit, and of our planet. April is Earth Month, and this sampling of the actions that GFSers have taken to contribute to improving the health of our planet demonstrates that they are driven by a desire to be responsible and ethical stewards.
From our administrative offices to our classrooms to the wider world, please enjoy these Earth Month highlights.
In the Classrooms...
In the Upper School, Lola Osborne '20, Sophie Boyd '20, Margot Linn '20, and Flora Kerner '20 solicited sneaker donations for their environmental science project for Science Night, with the goal of keeping these shoes out of the waste stream and donating them to be recycled to make new environmentally friendly shoes. The GFS community dug through their closets and pitched in with vigor!
Sophie Boyd '20 said, "Our sneaker drive went very well. We collected 160 pairs of shoes in total. We gave 10 pairs of the shoes to a third grade class who will donate them to the Dominican Republic and the rest will go to Nike Grind or Mom's Organic Market."
In the Lower School, Karen Cherubini leads an annual science unit on environmental justice with her fifth graders in connection with Earth Month.
Her students begin by discussing environmental issues that are easy to see, such as litter, and then they consider issues of equity, such as: Where do they see litter? Why do some neighborhoods have more or less litter than others? Where does the trash go when it is left on the street?
The students work in teams to research particular environmental topics, and then they work individually to write their own argument on the topic, using the scientific claim/evidence/reasoning methodology that they apply to all areas of scientific investigation. Tying the lesson into the students' language arts studies as well, the students write full descriptions of their issue, detailing the evidence, and then posing suggestions for how they can make a difference, backing up their suggestions with their research. Read all about the kids' projects here: Environmental Justice Begins at Home
For Earth Month, our Early Childhood students came up with ideas for ways they—and all of us!—can help take care of the Earth.
They created drawings and hung them in their classrooms to serve as reminders for their good ideas. Some of the Earth-saving stewardship tips demonstrated in their adorable masterpieces were:
- Throw your trash away
- Use both sides of the paper
- Only take/use 1 piece of paper at a time
- Throw your trash in a trash can, not on the ground (or as one of our kids says, "put the rubbish in the dustbin")
- Don't let the water run in the sink while washing your hands
- Turn off the lights when you leave the room
In the Admissions Office...
Danielle Miller, our Admissions Office Manager and Director of the Parent Ambassador Program, joined a team for a point-based emissions reduction challenge through Drawdown EcoChallenge.
She has been adding daily challenges and has already committed to:
- reducing/eliminating single-use toxic plastics
- choosing bamboo-sourced materials over plastic, metal, and wood
- going for a 30-minute walk each day to observe the pedestrian and bike accessibility around the community
- signing up for a solar roof consultation
- using muscle power over fuel power whenever possible
- and installing toilet banks in all the toilets in her house to reduce water waste.
Danielle shared, "I've been learning so much about the small and large individual and household contributions that can make a big impact. Many of the challenges are research-based or donation-based, such as researching the impact of my diet to see how it contributes to deforestation or donating to supply a community with reproductive health materials."
Outside of GFS...
The Quaker testimonies that we promote at GFS become a part of our students' lives. For some, the testimony of Stewardship has colored our graduates' professional careers.
In celebration of Earth Month, we highlighted a handful of our many alumni—Josh Volk '90, Rich Walkling '90, Andrew Sharpless '73, Jonathan Propper '73, and Wynn Calder '79—who are helping make our planet a greener place.
Read their stories here:
Environmental Changemakers: GFS Alumni Greening the Planet