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At CSS, we teach the fundamental concepts and practices of resource conservation, an appreciation for natural environments, and sustainability initiatives in the following distinctive ways:
- We foster a sense of environmental stewardship in students by exposing them to the science, beauty, and wonder of the natural world in the classroom and more deeply in our expeditions and seminars. Personal interaction with the complexity and wonder of open spaces and the flora and fauna of the natural world is a first step towards valuing things that are beyond a human framework. We believe in the importance of an intellectual understanding of the natural world, and further, we recognize that some of most profound realizations students can have about the natural world are at a deeper and more personal level. Educational research supports the idea that students who have had exposure to natural areas value them more than students who lack such experiences.
- Our all-campus recycling efforts model responsible waste management and a commitment to minimizing our impact on the local landfills. In the Children’s School, several grade levels take the lead in organizing recycling efforts, and our middle and high school students are committed to managing student-created waste in a responsible manner.
- CSS Upper School students have participated in a national initiative called “The Green Cup Challenge” in which schools across the country compete to conserve energy. By having our maintenance department caulk, insulate, and enact two dozen energy-saving steps, CSS decreased its energy usage by 20% over 2004 levels. A $4,000 investment in energy and water saving measures yielded a return of $25,000 per year on our entire utility bill (water, gas, and electric).
- CSS has invested in solar energy from panels in three places: at Venetucci Farm, on the roof of the Children’s School, and at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church. With this 115 kW project, CSS became the first independent school in the country to draw this much power from a community-based solar garden. This investment, in which CSS leases the panels from SunShare in exchange for credits on our bill from Colorado Springs Utilities, saves the school money, models environmental responsibility, and teaches students to solve problems with ingenuity and responsibility toward others.