Sustainability Statement

Sustainability Statement

The Blue Ridge School is an ideal setting for young men to develop a sense of place which, in turn, develops a sense of appreciation and responsibility. We strive to instill in our students a commitment to sustainability through engagement in unique programs and intentional initiatives both on campus and in the broader community. The Blue Ridge School is dedicated to fostering a community that is committed to sustainability and environmental stewardship through energy efficiency, resource conservation, and wise land management.

RECYCLING

  • A campus-wide recycling program encourages sustainable practices
  • Dual-stream recycling containers are provided in every dorm room and throughout campus
  • Grease and oil from the dining hall is collected for recycling by Valley Proteins
  • All food waste and organics are collected from the dining hall for composting at a local commercial facility
  • Pre-consumer food scraps from faculty homes are collected for on-site composting and reused in community gardens

HABITAT RESTORATION

  • Integrated pest management to control invasive species
  • Conversion of 17 acres into pollinator meadow, dominated by numerous species of native grasses and wildflowers
  • Tree planting to restore healthy forests

OUTDOOR EDUCATION

  • The Outdoor Programs focus on developing backcountry skills, Leave No Trace ethics and genuine nature appreciation through academic electives, afternoon programs and weekend trips. Summer expeditions focus on exploring our nation’s public lands; specifically Wilderness Areas and Wild & Scenic Rivers.

ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES

  • This year-long elective course, which can fulfill a science requirement, provides students with foundational knowledge of the environment by investigating characteristics of the ecosystem of the Blue Ridge School and beyond – developing essential skills in three primary areas: observation in, research of, and reflection on the natural world.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

  • Installation of LED light bulbs with auto-off features throughout the classrooms and dorms
  • Installation of energy-efficient windows throughout the dorms
  • Heating and cooling audit with accompanying control system
  • Student-led installation of solar panels for the on-campus observatory and game scoreboard

SERVICE LEARNING

  • Community service plays a major role in the culture at Blue Ridge School. Students have numerous opportunities to learn more about and directly serve important local environmental organizations.

SPECIAL EVENTS

  •  Participant in the Charlottesville Better Business Challenge with Community Climate Collaborative (won the school category in 2020-2021)
  • Various programs, such as Earth Day clean-up initiatives and Arbor Day tree planting provide hands-on service projects for students. Guest speakers for Saturday morning programs have also shared about their work with wildlife, land management and environmental awareness.

SUSTAINABILITY COMMITTEE

  • Student club to engage the community in meaningful programs and projects

MASTER ARBORICULTURAL PLAN

  • This process inventoried all the canopy trees on the Front Lawn to create individualized care-taking plans, encompassing pruning, cabling, lightning protection and soil enhancements. This plan also includes a formal tree replacement strategy to ensure the park-like aesthetic is maintained for generations.

FOREST AND WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT

  • A thorough assessment of the mountain property to identify specific needs for forest health, wildlife management, water quality improvement, and invasive species control.
  • Protection of numerous headwater streams for water quality improvement.

PLASTIC REDUCTION

  • Metered water refill stations reduce the use of plastic bottles and changes in dining hall practices have limited the use of disposable plastics.

TRANSPORTATION

  • A boarding school community, by definition, saves transportation costs and leads to a reduced carbon footprint. Nearly 80% of our faculty live on campus and can commute on foot or bike!
17 acres of pollinator meadows planted
Water bottle filling stations on campus
Environmental Studies classes
Outdoor Education trips across the country
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