What is Sustainability?
Sustainability is an approach to living on this planet and with each other that sets as a priority the thoughtful use of resources so that future generations inherit a healthy and productive planet.
At Maplewood Richmond Heights, we have infused sustainability learning and practices throughout the district. From course work at our secondary schools to participation in Sustainable St. Louis, MRH is committed to sustainable practices in all aspects of the district—education, families, food, facilities, the ecosystem, and the community.
Here are some of the programs and practices taking place at our schools:
Seed to Table Program
This unique program helps our students learn from the natural world around them. With its focus on nature, the life cycle of plants, and the study of nutrition, we are preparing students to make decisions to promote their own health, the health of the community, and the health of the planet.
Healthy Eating with Local Produce
Through this program, the district has replaced many processed foods on school lunch menus with locally grown, fresh produce. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch calls it a “progressive food program” that is the “envy of school districts around the region.” Read more.
In August, 2009, the school district launched the MRH Chicken Project by establishing a coop and chicken run at the early childhood center, and populating it with 14 chickens. These chickens have been providing meaningful instruction for students from preschool through high school with regards to the life cycle, biology, nutrition, and care for the living world. In addition, the Chicken Project is a resource for community members wishing to raise their own chickens. Learn more: Check out the Chicken Fact Sheet, listen to the NPR story about the chickens, or purchase a book on chickens published by student “chickenologists.”
Blue Devil Bees
Like the MRH chickens, the bees are helping students learn about the natural world and about where food comes from, but they’re also learning about science and how to make and market products like honey, beeswax lip balm, and candles. The bees, located on MRH grounds at the Student Success Center, are managed by a middle school student bee club. Learn more: Check out the Bee Reference Guide.
Walking School Bus
Saving the environment and helping kids make healthy choices are ideas behind the “walking school bus,” a program launched in the fall of 2010 with the help of Trailnet. The program has more kids walking to the Elementary School through three different “walking bus” routes. It helps reduce traffic and pollution, which helps green our community, plus it’s a great way to raise awareness for kids to be healthier and more active.
Buildings and Grounds
Not only is MRH introducing sustainability learning for its students, but it also has embraced sustainability practices in how it manages its facilities. Green cleaning projects, low-energy lighting solutions, efficient heating and cooling systems (and windows!), and more. In 2011 through a grant, MRH replaced numerous light switches with motion sensor to ensure using energy only when needed.