Sustainability Across the District

The Chappaqua Central School District’s commitment to sustainability education continues with multiple learning opportunities for students throughout the District in November.

Grafflin’s second graders took a field trip to the Sustainability Research Center (SRC) at HGHS to learn about active and passive hydroponics systems, what plants need to grow, and how they can further apply their learning in Grafflin’s own sustainable gardening systems. Justin Olive, Staff Developer and Director of K-12 Science, shared, “This was such a fantastic experience for everyone involved. Of course, we planned the day for our second grade visitors, but their excitement was contagious! Our high school students and staff also expressed how much they enjoyed the time together.” Mr. Olive is excited to expand this model of collaboration to other grade levels and schools in the future.

On November 16, Grafflin students shared their learning with Board of Education members and District administrators. Students led the Board through a hands-on activity of planting and preparing a hydroponics system and taught the Board about upcycling and sustainability. They then gave them a tour of the raised gardens, explored a caterpillar friend and even shared how much fun and excitement can come from learning about hydroponics and digging in the dirt. This work is a part of the K-12 sustainability standards and Science 21 curriculum.

At Bell, the Gardening Club recently planted in their hydroponics tower to start their indoor winter garden, while over at the Seven Bridges Garden students were seen harvesting vegetables, making unique bouquets, and building cold frame prototypes to extend the growing season!  Fresh herbs and veggies were at their fingertips to finish off the delicious dishes to be cooked in FACS classes. #FarmToTable

At Greeley, Peer Leaders also had the opportunity to explore their carbon footprints. Working with Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction, Dr. Adam Pease and Staff Developer and Director of K-12 Social Studies, Mary Devane, students investigated four questions: What do I eat/drink?; How do I get things that you need?; How do I get rid of things?; and How do I go places? This work prepared Peer Leaders for learning sessions with freshmen students. (. . .continued below. . .)

To support ongoing work in sustainability and the SRC, Rhoda Mauer, Greenhouse Manager at Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, visited our SRC to help us dial in the complex control systems that have been integrated into this state-of-the-art facility.  This new space is open to students and actively used for environmentally related learning and research.

The District’s Green Committee also met to prioritize their goals for the year and discussed electric vehicles, charging stations, solar power, sustainability curriculum, composting, and more.

All of this work builds on our November 8th Superintendent's Conference Day, which also had professional learning sessions focused on sustainability. Our students and staff are excited to continue to explore the SRC and its impact in instruction K-12. Learn more about the grand opening of Greeley’s Sustainability Research Center earlier this year here.