by Mary Ann Boyer, Boyer Sudduth Environmental Consultants, LLC
Norwood-Fontbonne Academy received a grant from the Philadelphia Area Independent Schools Business Officers Association to address environmental sustainability and foster collaboration between the school and neighboring institutions.
NFA teamed up with its Parents Association, Chestnut Hill College, Morris Arboretum, and Boyer Sudduth Environmental Consultants to create a Collaborative Waste Initiative to reduce waste, increase recycling, and strengthen community ties.
Classroom endeavors have led the way. NFA’s fourth grade students conducted the first dining room audit. They collected 36 pounds of cafeteria waste in one day. Students will compare these results to another audit in the spring. Audra Gurin’s Montessori students also conducted a classroom waste audit. Students shared lessons learned at home.
“One student asked her parent to stop buying drinks with straws to cut down on waste,” Gurin said.
Another child will reuse bags instead of throwing them away.”
During the next phase NFA will develop an action plan.
“One of the tactics to reduce waste is to link this project to the curriculum,” said Director of Lower Grades Nancy Peluso.
The final phase involves collaborating with partners to leverage the lessons of the Collaborative Waste Initiative. Chestnut Hill College education students will develop waste and recycling lessons that can be used in the classroom.
At Morris Arboretum’s Certified Green Restaurant, Compton Café, students will learn how the café minimizes its environmental impact and take these ideas back to school. NFA’s Parents Association encourages families to pack a “waste free” lunch.
NFA’s sustainability efforts have been part of the school’s history and a response to Pope Francis’ challenge in his encyclical on the environment where he calls for “swift and unified global action.”
“PAISBOA’s grant has given us a chance to make school-wide change, deepen community ties, and strengthen our care for the Earth,” said school head Sister Mary Helen Beirne