Terms such as “sustainability,” “locally sourced,” and “carbon footprint” are becoming a more familiar part of our vocabulary. At Oldfields School, the Environmental Club took time last week to talk about these concepts and to introduce the students to ways in which they can be more environmentally friendly.
Not content to wait until Earth Week, club members planned a weeks worth of informative sessions around the theme of “Living Locally.” Oldfields’ 2nd Annual EcoWeek featured several local businesses that encouraged the girls to buy locally. Among the local speakers were Prigel Creamery representatives who shared samples of ice cream as well as a discussion on how their business is ecologically and financially sustainable.
Dining at Oldfields
Because Oldfields is a boarding school, executive chef Eric Miller must prepare three healthy meals everyday of the week. During the warmer months he uses produce from the school’s community garden and orders supplies from local farms and businesses including Springfield Farms, Simmer Rock Farms, H&S Bakery, Keany Produce, Cloverland Dairy, and Roseda Beef.
“Supporting local businesses is both environmentally and financially sustainable,” said Oldfield’s Sustainability Coordinator Amy Roden. “It decreases our overall carbon footprint and increases the community’s awareness of where our food is actually coming from.”
In addition to getting his supplies from local sources, Chef Miller makes sure scraps are composted for use in the garden and he has instituted “Meatless Monday.” He used the occasion of EcoWeek to show the students how to make a popular meatless dish — Stuffed Carnival Squash with spaetzle, shiitake mushrooms, and Gorgonzola cream in which all of the ingredients came from local sources.
Learning by Doing
Throughout the week, the Environmental Club shared information and offered helpful energy saving tips on how to go green. Additionally, students had the opportunity to make gift bags and bird feeders from sustainable materials, create holiday ornaments from recycled CDs and other recycled materials, and fabricate “hot socks” with essential oils to keep them warm in the winter without cranking up the heat.
Green Cup Challenge
EcoWeek helped to prepare the Oldfields community for participation in the national Green Cup Challenge. The Green Cup Challenge is a national energy competition among independent and public schools to see which school can save the most energy in comparison with their previous year’s energy bills. Each school competes against itself, although there is one school that is named the winner of the challenge. The champion is the school with the biggest change in its own bills. Oldfields will compete within the Chesapeake Bay region and on the national level as part of the Green School Alliance.
This year, The Green Cup Challenge 2011 will run from January 18-February 21.