An Appreciation of Nature
Northern Lights Community School (NLCS) believes by being an environmentally-focussed school we can save money, improve health, and boost academic achievement all through generating environmentally aware and responsible 21st century citizens. NLCS believes students are better equipped to understand needs on a global scale when they have a strong understanding of how our school impacts the local community around them. NLCS students interact with nature on a regular basis and develop life long environmental awareness and appreciation.
Richard Louv in his book The Last Child in the Woods brought to the forefront the need for young people to connect with nature. He coined the term “nature-deficit disorder” as he stated children are spending less time in nature and more time in front of the television or plugged-in to their devices. NLCS understands the impacts of this loss of a nature connection on today’s young people. NLCS believes all students should be given opportunities to make connections with nature. It is important for our students to not only become more environmentally aware, but learn to be responsible environmental stewards. By walking around NLCS, students are immersed in sustainable practices. From the LED lighting to the geothermal heating students experience their school’s continued efforts in becoming more sustainable. Today’s K-12 students are the first generation to grow up indoors and often unconnected to the natural world. Students need more devoted time to nature in order to develop important stewardship and environmental consciousness. With the school garden, greenhouse, and environmental field studies, student are provided experiences that will foster environmentally conscience citizens.
NLCS is a member of the International Green Schools Alliance. NLCS students and staff are working to lower the school’s overall ecological footprint. Students have designed a community-based garbage and recyclables center. Every day the waste from the cafeteria is measured and weighed by students. A minimal waste effort is being made school-wide. NLCS is also using renewable energy. Passive solar, solar voltaics, and geothermal energy are all being used to make Northern Lights more sustainable. The data of the energy harnessed from the sun through our solar voltaic systems is accessed through student computers or via the NLCS website.
NLCS staff members are trained on different aspects of environmental education throughout the school year. NLCS teachers and staff learn ways to incorporate EE practices throughout the NLCS curriculum. NLCS students are given a Fall and Spring environmental literacy assessment to ensure we are meeting our mission to increase environmental literacy in every student. This data is used to direct future curriculum planning.