I wanted to share an article written by one of our current interns, Chris Woods. He is ONLY on the site this year because of Avout’s contribution last spring. We were able to hire two ‘specialist’ interns (they are close to graduating from college) for sustainability who are developing new programs and have the mentoring skills to work more closely with our high school leaders.
Because of Avout, we have been able to engage high school leaders on a new level and are launching a high school leader outreach program to recruit them on the front end and support their career choices on the back end. This is in a test phase and will roll out past our test group next summer. Our intern and high school leader programs are thriving because of Avout.
From Words to Actions—Sustainable Learning at Outdoor Lab Foundation
By Chris Woods
At Mt. Evans Outdoor Lab, stewardship and sustainability aren’t just words. The school wants to go beyond teaching the concepts and move to embodying them. A few months ago the staff of Mt. Evans sat down to set goals, most notably carbon reduction targets. “We wanted to keep in stride with the emissions targets set by the White House earlier this year, so we agreed to hold ourselves to a 2% annual reduction of carbon dioxide equivalents,” says current intern Logan Coy. They are well on their way. The staff at Mt. Evans has initiated several projects to reach their target this year. Among them are: developing a high capacity composting system, instituting a food waste reduction campaign, and building a prototype for a series of passive solar furnaces.
The composting system works to sequester carbon that would otherwise undergo anaerobic decomposition and release the highly potent greenhouse gas methane. It also provides valuable fertilizer for the garden and greenhouse program that will be launched next spring.
By bringing awareness to the environmental consequences of wasting food, the waste reduction campaign has already reduced the amount of food sent to landfills by over 100 pounds in under 5 weeks. This materializes to over $150 saved that can be reallocated to further improve class content.
The passive solar furnaces use the energy of the sun to warm air and circulate it through rooms, thereby reducing the amount of propane that would otherwise be used to heat the buildings. Perhaps more important than the site’s carbon reduction is the fact that all of these examples of sustainability are being integrated into curriculum. The staff at Mt. Evans is proud of their personal stewardship but even more pleased to be able to share these sustainable practices with the thousands of students who get to enjoy Outdoor Lab each year.
Thanks again, Avout, for your contribution. This article will be featured in next month’s newsletter. Please check it out at http://outdoorlabfoundation.org/about-us/newsletters/ and read features on all of our interns!