Environmental Sustainability - a Core Value Taught at BFS
In keeping with the school’s mission of caring for others and the world, Buckingham Friends School is creating a signature sustainability plan to steward the resources of its beautiful 44-acre campus and maintain its historic buildings. Part of that plan includes the use of the School’s geothermal well to heat and cool the main building. The community had the foresight to invest in the well 10 years ago—it now generates a 30% energy savings when compared to air source heat pumps. Additionally, the school recently installed energy saving LED lights across the campus, which not only provides a significant cost savings, but is environmentally friendly. In addition, studies have shown that since the LED lights mimic natural daylight, installing them helps students test better.
Thanks to energy saving tactics like these, Buckingham Friends School has been awarded an ENERGY STAR certificate for the second year in a row. ENERGY STAR certified buildings and plants are verified to perform in the top 25 percent of buildings nationwide, based on weather-normalized source energy use that takes into account occupancy, hours of operation, and other key metrics. “Energy conservation is just one of the ways BFS demonstrates its commitment to the Quaker principles of stewardship and sustainable development. Preservation of the environment and the enjoyment of our magnificent campus—for current students and generations to come— is an important part of our mission,” shares Robert Roop, Clerk of the Board’s Physical Plant Committee.
Deep commitment to environmental sustainability is nothing new at BFS. In fact, teaching students to be stewards of their world is one of the School’s core values (which were recently reaffirmed by Buckingham Friends School’s Board of Trustees last year). According to a Board statement, “We engage community members in service work and teach the importance and responsibility of environmental sustainability. We believe in the importance of making a positive impact on our world for present and future generations.”
Environmental sustainability is integrated into the curriculum across all grades. For example, in the Social Issues and Science classes, students study events around the globe and key issues that affect the environment. This fall the 6th Grade was inspired by the UN Climate Action Conference and chose to “walk and talk” with their campus peers about the importance of global climate change by delivering an articulate and invigorating debate on the pros and cons of water bottle usage.
The impact of the environmental emphasis is not just seen in the current student body, but in the work of numerous BFS alums: Taiya Smith ’87, a Washington think tank expert and CEO of Phyllis Technologies recently spoke at the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting on climate change and carbon dividends; and Amy Dietterich ’91, has spent her career in public health, diplomacy, and global governance and currently works for a Specialized Agency of the United Nations. As Paul Lindenmaier, Head of School, recently shared with BFS students, “Change doesn’t always start as something big. All it takes is one person having one idea…. and that one seed can then grow to change the world.”