Become a Green Dragon. Join WSB’s New Green Team!

19 Sep

Throughout the day, Sustainability Coordinators tend to get a lot of mind-bending questions revolving around matters of compost, gardening, wildlife, native plants, etc. But, hands-down, the one I hear the most is . . . How can I turn into a Dragon? Followed by . . . How can I become more involved in the sustainability initiatives at WSB? Well, I have a grand answer for you that will solve both these perplexing puzzles in one fell swoop! This year, we are starting a new Green Dragon Team for students, parents, staff, and New Town community members. Our goal is to begin implementing the Enhanced Schoolyard Plan, and our focus this school year will be on managing our stormwater runoff and planting more edibles in the schoolyard. The Student Council has already elected their Green Officer who will be sniffing out the other Green Dragons hiding in the classrooms.
We are in need of 3 more parents to join our fiery ranks (preferably from the elementary and middle school, as the Children’s Garden is already represented). Green Dragon Parents will meet the 1st Thursday of every month directly after drop off at 8:30am. The main meeting will be adjourned by 9:15am at the latest! In order to keep these meetings short, follow up information will be handled online. Bare in mind, you can still be involved without becoming a full-fledged Dragon. Over the course of the school year we will need volunteers to help implement the plan as well as keep all WSB’s events as waste-free as possible.

Please be in touch with Michel Anderson with your desired level of involvement. If you’re interested in full dragon status please submit a 1,000,000,000 word essay containing all relative experience, including mythological lineage, bloodline, region and castle property information, gold and jewel reserves, as well as involvement in any significant ogre battles.

Our 1st meeting will be Thursday, Oct 2nd.

Thank you for reading and your interest!

Permaculture Course: Starting Sept 20th

11 Sep

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Have you seen the permaculture design map of the Waldorf School of Baltimore? Did you know that WSB is in the process of implementing many of the design components of this map? If you’re interested in really digging into permaculture, consider taking a 6 weekend course and become a certified permaculturist. This is the same course taken by Michel Anderson, WSB’s Ecoliteracy & Sustainability Coordinator. Click HERE for more info. Members of the Waldorf Community get $25 off by typing in the discount code, “Waldorf School of Baltimore,” at registration.  Act fast!  The first class is scheduled to start Saturday, Sept 20.  Also be sure to visit and LIKE the facebook page, Permaculture Maryland. Enjoy the day!

Introducing the Enhanced Schoolyard Plan

8 Sep

Greetings! And welcome to the new school year! I hope your summer was filled with wonder and glee. I wanted to take moment to fill you in on some of the new green projects that are currently underway at the Waldorf School of Baltimore. First off, the Parents’ Association (PA) has generously donated funds to kick off our new Enhanced Schoolyard Plan. You will be hearing a lot about this plan over the coming months. In brief, the plan is based on permaculture design principles as well as design principles that encouraging biophilia (love of nature) in children. We’ve already started folding it into the school with a few new items. Thanks to the PA, we now have new composting tumblers that are loose and can be rolled around the schoolyard as well as down hills. This gives our students a fun way to turn compost (cleverly disguised as play) during recess. We’ve also purchased new fencing which will allow our three hens more space to roam. When it’s complete WSB students will be able to freely enter the area and interact with the chickens on a more regular basis. I have started installing the fence, panel-by-panel, during recess with the help of a few eager 3rd graders. We should be finished within the next couple of weeks. This year’s Student Council will be instrumental in designing and phasing in the Enhanced Schoolyard Plan. We are developing a Student Council Task Force that will be making play-maps of the schoolyard and offering suggestions to the faculty to make changes to the physical and cultural use to our grounds. Among other things, they will re-write the recess rules to offer their unique perspective. Over the next couple of months you will see and hear about these exciting changes through this blog (which will host middle school student authors!). The integration of these plans will offer many opportunities for volunteers! So subscribe and check to blog often.
Needless to say, we have high hopes that this year will be our greatest (and greenest) thus far!

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Rain Check Issued

13 Aug

Hello! Due to the intensity of yesterday’s (much needed) deluge, I am hereby issuing a RAIN CHECK on our garden party until tomorrow (Thursday 8/13). Same time: 12pm-1:30pm.
Hope to see you then!

To stay up-to-date regarding this event check out our facebook feed: http://www.facebook.com/WaldorfSchoolBaltimore

 

Garden Time!

11 Aug

vegetables-large-mdHello! Now that we’re getting close to the beginning of a new school year we would like to host some gardening cleanup sessions. The first one will be held this Wednesday, Aug 13th from 12pm-1:30pm. Our rain date will be the next day, Thursday the 14th (same time). We’ll be doing some general tiding up and prepping the area for the return of the chickens.

The second session will be Wednesday, Aug 20th at the same time. We maybe able to do some honey extraction during that one…we’ll see.

If you’re planning on coming to either please comment or send me a message so I know how many people to expect (manderson at twsb dot org). Feel free to bring a picnic if you like. And please note, childcare will not be officially provided; children will work/play under parental supervision.

See you soon!

Ahead of the game. . . .

23 Jun

WatershedJust last week the State of Maryland, along with 5 other states and the District of Columbia, signed the Chesapeake Watershed Agreement. Our governor, Martin O’Malley, spearheaded the initiative and called it, “the most inclusive, collaborative, goal-oriented agreement the Chesapeake Bay watershed has ever seen.”

The agreement not only sets new standards towards protecting our bay, but also brings ecoliteracy into every school in the watershed. You can read a Washington Post article about it by clicking HERE and take a look at the full agreement by clicking HERE.

The Waldorf School of Baltimore has been actively infusing ecoliteracy into its curriculum for a long time now. This new development highlights the fact that WSB is on the cutting edge of modern educational thought, and that your students are well underway of becoming environmentally-sound leaders and stewards of the Earth they will inherit.

Enjoy the day!

Green Report for the 2013-14 School Year

18 Jun

What a great, green school year it’s been!

This post will highlight some of our green accomplishments for the 2013-14 school year. Over the next couple of weeks some of our goals for next year will be announced. So without further adieu . . .

TerraCycle!
TerraCycle-Logo-PNGOur Middle School Student Council has made some great progress this year with our TerraCycle program. Since we started it in January 2014, we have collected certain kinds of waste products (ink cartridges, hummus containers, etc.) and sent them in for points. The points were redeemed to do various actions that have had a global impact. Together we have:

  • Provided 25 people in Sub-Sahara Africa with clean drinking water for a year.
  • Preserved 2 acres of wildlife land in the Western United States.
  • Removed 80 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere
  • Gave honeybees to a family in need
  • Gave a chicken to a family in need.

KIVA!
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Since it’s inception last year, our Waldorf International Community Lending Team has grown to 14 members and has over $1,400 out in loans to people in need all over the world — from Albania to Senegal. Together we are doing things like helping entrepreneurs fill their shops with goods to sell, providing clothing and healthcare to underprivileged children, and helping farmers provide food to their communities. You can get involved in this exciting program by clicking HERE.
Next year, we will be handing over the reigns of this endeavor to our student-led Green Team! (More on that soon.)


Maryland Green School Re-Certification, Eco-Schools, and EPA Green Power Partnership!
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Most of my winter this school year was spent developing & editing an online portfolio that chronicled the last 4 years of WSB’s green initiatives. Those efforts paid off and WSB was awarded green school status for the next 4 years! We were also awarded Eco-Schools status (which is an international organization) and invited into the EPA’s Green Power Partnership Program! If you haven’t already, check out our extensive Maryland Green School Application, it’s full of all of our green accomplishments over the last 4 years.

Coffee Capsule Collection Campaign!
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This year our Student Council started an Coffee Capsule Collection campaign and stopped over 35 pounds of un-recyclable capsules from ending up in a landfill. While “gutting” the capsules of their used coffee ground for our vermicompost bins, middle school students and I had lively discussions about the botanical and cultural history of coffee as well as the global economic system that brings coffee to our supermarkets. Please note: Since this program is an initiative by the Student Council we ask that no more coffee capsules be brought into the school until they decide whether or not to run this (or a different) program next year.

Garden Expansion!
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Have you seen the garden lately? During the Spring months, students from all grade levels took part in laying landscaping fabric and hauling mulch in order to expand our school’s garden. Next Fall, we will continue the expansion to the other side of the pathway near the willow tunnel. This is allowing us to mow less as well as create more gardening space for every class level. Check back on this blog for a few gardening dates that we will have in late July and August to prepare for the 2014-15 school year. We also used a small pop-up greenhouse on our 2nd floor terrace to sow some of our garden’s seeds. Hopefully next year the winter will be a bit more tame and all of our seed will get their start in the greenhouse.

Healthy Chickens & Bees!
DSC_7040The 2013-14 school year was our first full year with our very own chickens and bees, and I’m happy to report that they are all happy, healthy, and thriving (despite the polar vortex).Chicks This year we also were able to offer a “Birthday Egg” for each student on their special day. (If you child has a summer birthday, drop me a line and I’ll be sure they get an egg in the Fall.) Our bees have split their colony in two, so we now have two hives pollinating our grounds. We’re looking forward to next year and the surprises these schoolyard mascots of ours deliver. As you read this, our chickens are at their lovely summer home in Lauraville, eating tasty new bugs and roaming around a nice large yard (pictured above).

Green Power!
green_energy_cert_2014At WSB we take the Great Law of the Iroquois to heart and put it into practice: In every deliberation, we must consider the impact on the seventh generation. Did you know that WSB is now offsetting all of our energy usage with 100% Renewable Energy? In April of 2014 WSB joined a Green School Purchasing Consortium through the Green Schools Alliance and became one of the twenty-eight schools in the nation that are leading the way in energy conservation and responsible use. Our actions avoid the emission 475,629 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and advances the U.S. green economy and energy independence.

The Enhanced Schoolyard Plan!
PermaOne of our most exciting developments is the introduction of our new Enhanced Schoolyard Plan. Over the last 10 months my partner, Emily, and I produced a permaculture plan for WSB that is now being re-worked into a phased implemented plan for our school’s grounds. You will start to see big changes taking place next year that will help us deliver to our students an experiential education that incorporates the natural environment utilizing our very own backyard. History lessons, math lessons, even literary art lessons, will have ecoliteracy components woven into their curriculum that will inspire our students’ imagination, deepen their retention of information, and connect them to the outside world.

That about sums up the main accomplishments of the school year. Thanks for reading. . . .  Now go outside and play!

 

 

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