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Sustainability at Burgundy

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Last Saturday, 14 adults and 12 students gathered in the garden to prepare it for the spring and summer. Parents and students of all ages — and I am sorry that I was not one of them! — weeded and laid down wood chips, built compost bins, sawed, painted, tilled, made watering cans, and more. There were squeals among students and parents alike when lizards appeared, and an impromptu science lesson took place when a dead snake was found with the remains of his last meal still evident. Middle Schoolers showcased a particularly keen interest in projects that involved building and beautifying. According to project coordinator, parent Dori Gonzalez-Acevedo, our fifth through eighth graders are especially aware of the importance of sustainability work and eager to participate in it!

The result of this group of Burgundians’ hard work is a beautiful, serene space on campus where students can not only plant vegetables and flowers but also learn outdoors and enjoy serenity! Note: it’s not only students who are enjoying our community garden: we sold six plots at the Auction this year — more than ever! -- to bidding families), and a staff person or parent on campus might even want to spend a few quiet, mindful minutes during lunch at our community garden!

Readying of the garden for this year’s planting and harvesting seasons was not all that was taking place last Saturday! Middle School science teacher and Sustainability Coordinator Renee Miller’s Sustainability Club members met to paint compost bins, picnic tables, and the shed. This week, they will build bird houses and are piloting a worm bin project for composting, one by the Middle School and another outside of the Early Childhood classrooms. They also plan to decorate the compost bins, build a tool-holder for the JK classes, and lead the Earth Day assembly on April 24. Maybe best of all: the Sustainability Club isn’t just for Middle Schoolers this year! 5th graders now can join in the fun! This is in addition to fifth grade participation in Science Teacher Carol Schwartz's "Green Team" which leads the sustainability charge for the Lower School.


Speaking of Earth Week, which is April 22-26, April and the onset of spring is a great time to get refocused on sustainability and conservation opportunities in our lives. Accordingly, in honor of Earth Week the entire Burgundy community will be investing more time and resources into raising awareness of  sustainability issues and celebrating the natural world on campus and beyond. Each class has been assigned an environmentally-themed project integrated with what they are already studying. Sixth graders, for example, will focus on planting and beautification. Eighth graders will continue cleaning up trash along Burgundy and Norton Roads. Seventh graders will plant willow whips and clean up the pond. First graders will be recycling and planting forsythia with their fourth and fifth grade buddies. Not all of these projects will take place during Earth Week, but the emphasis on sustainability has commenced, will peak during the week-long celebration, and will carry through to the end of the school year. One of our signature core values, sustainability, and conservation as an expression thereof, must be kept in our collective front of mind if we are to live our values. Renee Miller commented: “Projects of these sorts, the community garden, the Sustainability Club, Earth Week — they are integral to our mission. They are our chance to be better stewards of the environment on campus and beyond campus.” I could not say it better!