Country Day Forward: Our School’s Five-Year Environmental Plan

Country Day Forward: Our School’s Five-Year Environmental Plan

Molly Briggs ’19, News Editor

Our school, wanting to grow and to continue its legacy of excellence, has initiated a new long-range plan: Country Day Forward. This five-year strategic plan, as Mr. Jaccaci states, “will help inform what the school teaches, how it teaches, and where it teaches to propel its students forward into the 21st century.” The plan is being carried out by following three pillars: Innovative Learning and Teaching, Global Engagement, and Environmental Commitment. Focusing on the environmental aspect of the school’s development, I interviewed Mr. Jaccaci and David Briggs, a member of the Environmental Council.

The goal of CCD’s Environmental Commitment is “to install a culture of sustainability and purposeful connection to the natural world through education, partnerships, action, and self-assessment that will empower and inspire CCDS the community to steward our environment.” The Council wants to improve the environmental efficiency of the school, improve our connection with the environment, and incorporate these into our curriculum.

There have been many environmental changes in the past couple years “to promote a healthier, more sustainable campus as well as educate our community about the roles we play in creating a greener future.” New trees have been planted along Given Road, replacing those that had been lost to Dutch elm disease. Last summer, the majority of the lights in classrooms and hallways were replaced with LED lights. These bulbs both help the environment and save money: because of their efficiency, they paid for themselves in less than six months. The Council plans to replace the remaining lights that aren’t LED this year. Many of you have probably noticed the hydration water filling stations around the school. These help the environment by cutting back on our water bottle use. There is also now a “no idle zone” in front of the school, causing people to turn off their cars when waiting and therefore help the environment.

Country Day is doing many things to expand our environmental education as well. The school has named a Director of Outdoor Education, who will “create learning opportunities so our students can connect with the world around them.” The school has even expanded a partnership with the Cincinnati Nature Center for future educational collaborations and a lecture series. There have also been many small educational experiences that make us interact with the environment and how to improve it. In the 2016-2017 freshmen geometry class, students calculated the best shape for a shade in the Early Childhood House, and nature classes for the younger students.

As for the Environmental Plan’s future, Mr. Jaccaci is currently working with the school’s Master Plan committee on designing and implementing a playscape that will be installed upon competition of the Leonard Athletic Center. This playscape “will allow our youngest students to engage all their senses while igniting their curiosity through exploration and play.” The school is also speaking about creating gardens and possibly a greenhouse. The Council may attempt to increase the number of indigenous trees, and create wild life zones, specific areas where you let everything go wild, creating natural habitats for our region. It is possible that motion sensors for our light switches will be installed as well, so when no one is using them in a room, they will automatically turn off. Overall, our school has a very promising and much greener future.