Some Green initiatives were added during initial building construction. Bathroom faucets were equipped with automatic sensors as a way to conserve water and some of the lights were designed to turn on and off automatically to help conserve energy. But there was not a vision to intentionally be Green.
In 2014, Frederick Adventist Academy deliberately began moving toward a greener culture. Our staff recognized the need to promote environmental awareness and sustainability in our students. We wanted to make sure that when students left our school, they took with them the important lesson that being a good steward of the earth begins with them.
The school began an after-school environmental club which sparked student interest and student-led projects. Since then, we’ve started a student-led recycling project, planted raised garden beds, added a composting bin, designed an outdoor classroom area, and intentionally embedded environmental education projects throughout the curriculum.
Teachers are now actively looking for ways to continue their own environmental education pathways by participating in continuing education programs that help them bring environmental education into the classroom. Teachers and students have participated in programs with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Fox Haven Farm, Montgomery County Recycling, and Mt. Aetna Camp and Retreat Center. All of these programs have given our teachers and students a new appreciation for the care of our earth.
We know that our students are making an impact on our local campus. Our Home and School (PTA) has joined our efforts by helping us reduce our impact on landfills by moving us away from all styrofoam products and organizing a Lunchskins school-wide fundraiser to promote Waste Less Lunches. Our school board recently revamped our vision statement to include an intentional focus on the environment.
Last year, the Trout in the Classroom program was started for middle school students. In the winter, the FAA middle school acquired fish eggs and students observed the development of the trout until they were ready to release. The trout were placed into a local stream in the spring and the whole school had the opportunity to learn about the trout’s life cycle, and the water quality in the local area. The school plans to continue this program on a yearly basis.
We recognize that we have more work to do: we want to move toward green cleaning products and continue with our garden program to be able to help the Frederick Rescue Mission with some of our produce. Our goal is to connect all of our students with the community by addressing local environmental issues and help make a Greener world.