Sustainability & Stewardship
Respect for our environment is an important focus as we help students develop an understanding of their role in securing a safe and sustainable future for our world. Woven throughout our program and the physical environment of the campus, this focus began with the development of our organic learning garden, the David R. Heath Outdoor Education Center. Named in honor of our founding head of school and re-envisioned as part of the 2014 schoolyard project, this is a unique and treasured focal point of our campus. Students enjoy dedicated time in the garden with our garden teacher. The resources of our garden enrich many aspects of our program, and special events such as the fall Harvest Festival have become treasured traditions in our community.
Environmental learning is an integral part of the curriculum, especially in science, and interwoven throughout many areas of study. The school’s rich tradition of field trips begins with neighborhood walks for our preschoolers, and progresses to hikes in nearby Baltimore Canyon and full day field trips to tide pools, farms, ropes courses and other outdoor learning environments for our primary and middle school students. Overnight field trips begin in second grade, and by eighth grade our students have experienced mountain, desert, ocean, and coastal rainforest environments.
Students learn and practice environmentally responsible habits through outside and in-school service commitments and by observing the choices we make as a school community. Reducing our contribution to landfills teaches one important lesson. Our recycling program includes composting food scraps, using real or compostable plates and flatware, and collecting rainwater from the roof near the garden. Seventh grade students sort our recyclables each week while fourth graders collect and deposit compost in the garden. Each year our middle school students head to Stinson Beach to participate in California’s Coastal Clean-up Day, collectively amassing over 100 pounds of trash and recyclable items in a mere three hours!
Our parent-led Green Team facilitates opportunities for environmental stewardship by coordinating family service learning projects throughout the community, as well as engaging specialists and speakers to share their expertise and resources. The MP&MS Greenbook, a compendium of green information and resources created by parents, contains easy suggestions for responsible ecological living. Click here to download a copy. Our school is a certified Bay Area (and Marin) Green Business and a member of the Bay Area Green Business Program. Recent campus renovations involving upgraded lighting, heat, plumbing, and temperature-controlling shades have reduced our carbon footprint. Students can see the power collected from the solar panels in the garden, and learn about the importance of managing storm water runoff as they learn about the purpose of the change to permeable playground tiles and the bioswale that filters water flowing through campus.
The challenge of inspiring and preparing students to make a difference in the world is especially clear through the lens of environmental sustainability, and deeply important to the MP&MS community.