Hewitt’s commitment to sustainability spans divisions and disciplines. Between clubs, courses, and community service, faculty members are developing a variety of ways for students, teachers, and families to get involved with efforts to spread awareness and education about the environment.
In the spring of 2017, Hewitt began a partnership with the Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation (CELF), an organization that works with teachers and schools to implement sustainability programming. That summer, Hewitt’s first faculty sustainability committee attended the CELF Summer Institute, where they participated in a variety of training workshops and made plans to ensure that sustainability continues to be a shared and central goal of the Hewitt community.
Less than a year after forming, Hewitt’s faculty sustainability committee has already made great strides. Our work is guided by the Big Ideas of Sustainability, a framework designed by the Sustainable Schools Project at Shelburne Farms in partnership with CELF to help educators frame sustainability curriculum and projects for their students and colleagues. Whether working with maintenance and facilities and our kitchen to implement a composting program of all food scraps in our cafeteria, providing professional development workshops for faculty, collaborating with colleagues to develop curriculum, or planning student programming, the relatively new committee is already making a big impact on every member of our school.
In lower school, the committee’s curricular work has included a kindergarten unit on resource use and a second grade focus on sustainability through the lens of urban development. In middle school, sixth graders completed an animation project focused on issues related to water, an elective course looked at sustainability through ethical dilemmas, and the student council expanded to include a middle school sustainability committee. In upper school, Marine Biology students engaged in an ongoing marine biomes project; our AP Environmental Science class focused on a sustainable city design project and a personal waste audit to track how much paper, plastic, and metal trash they produce; and our earth committee brought the One Last Straw Campaign to Hewitt. At various points during the year, students of all ages have had the opportunity to work with the Central Park Conservancy to learn about the park and volunteer to help keep it clean.
With so many exciting initiatives in the works, the Hewitt sustainability committee continues to grow in size and scope. The coming months will see a full day devoted to sustainability programming featuring student-led workshops and activities, and this April students and faculty attended the NYSAIS Sustainability Through Student Voices Conference. This summer, a new group of Hewitt faculty will participate in CELF’s 2018 Summer Institute, ensuring the continued spread of sustainability throughout the school.