Center for Environmental Literacy

Stewardship of planet Earth’s resources is one of the most important issues of our time. Children who learn to appreciate the natural world, develop analytical skills to inquire about environmental issues, and build awareness of society’s impact on the environment will become the environmental scientists, entrepreneurs, and activists of the 21st century. IDS Environmental Literacy programs offer students 33 natural acres to explore, study, appreciate, and care for the environment while learning about local environmental concerns and natural resources.
UNESCO’s vision for worldwide environmental education that leads to the development of an environmentally literate citizenry provides a lens for Center for Environmental Literacy curriculum and activities to teach IDS students the skill sets they will need to not only take individual action but to participate in decision-making that will have a positive impact on their lives, their communities, and the world beyond.

These skills include:
  • Questioning, analysis and interpretation skills
  • Knowledge of environmental processes and systems
  • Skills for understanding and addressing environmental issues
  • Personal and civic responsibility
Curriculum must be grounded in the real world, connected locally, and integrated across disciplines from natural science to social studies, to the arts and humanities. We envision IDS graduates who take an active and passionate role in supporting and sustaining a healthier planet.

As we began the work together, our school explored and implemented ways of becoming a greener school and considered the pursuit of a formal designation as a green school. During our 2017-18 Year of Environmental Literacy we engaged all IDS students, faculty, staff, and families in the 4Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle, repurpose – across the curriculum and across the school day and year. We set up recycling centers in each of our buildings and began composting waste material. The student Green Team launched widespread awareness campaigns such as “One Less Straw” and “Change the Margins”.

The continued focus on the care of and use of our nature trail included recently submitted grant to fund the development of a web-based curriculum about the animal and plant life on the trail that can be used by families and students help connect the sustainability of our beautiful trail to larger environmental issues in our region.

Our plan in 2019 is to build a yurt-style outdoor classroom – the Spencer Mugford Center for Environmental Education - that can be used by all grades in all four seasons and can serve as a centerpiece for our commitment to environmental literacy. Our hope is to surround the center with a vegetable garden, a flower garden, and a small orchard to engage our students in agriculture and horticulture.