“The research provides evidence that connecting with nature should be part of every child’s life – it has the potential to aid nature’s revival while benefiting the child.”
- Dr. Miles Richardson, University of Derby
The Grauer School's Environmental Stewardship Initiative for 2019-2020
The Grauer School has dedicated the current school year to an all-campus effort to embrace sustainable environmental practices and work to reduce the local and global impacts of climate change.
A joint resolution passed by the school's Board of Trustees, faculty and students - a first for the school since its founding in 1991 - calls for action to help turn back the Earth's rising temperatures, and to use environmentally sustainable practices wherever possible. The initiative encompasses the entire school community, from curriculum in all academic disciplines, to student activities on and off campus, as well as the school's front-office functions. This new resolution highlights Grauer’s long tradition of expeditionary learning, which takes students on immersive cultural and ecological expeditions all over the world twice yearly, in addition to year-long experiential learning.
"The Grauer School has a long history of teaching and practicing environmental sustainability. Even our mascot, the gorilla, was intended to showcase and support a critically endangered species. But we feel a new sense of urgency to be good stewards of the environment and address climate change based on recent science, which warns of the potentially catastrophic consequences of inaction," said Dr. Stuart Grauer, head of school and the school's founder.
The initiative, although grounded in the school's academic curriculum, goes well beyond into all aspects of campus life.
"We are convinced that it is important to not only teach our students to care for and protect the environment, but to model what it looks like to live an environmentally responsible life. That's why we are dedicated to increasing the students' environmental intelligence through the school curriculum, and across every facet of the school's operations," said Craig Gertz, Chairman of the Board of Trustees.
Our Green School Campus: A Sense of Ecology
Since its inception, The Grauer School has sought to raise generations of global citizens. When we broke ground on our permanent school site in 1999, we made a promise to protect and preserve a fragile section of native California coastal habitat. In this context, you could say that environmental awareness and sustainability are in our school’s DNA, which we proudly call the “Green Grauer Mission.”
Grauer is proud to be a “green school campus” officially certified by the “California Green Ribbon School” Program.
Being a green school campus and green ribbon school means our buildings and campus are designed not just as boxes to hold desks, but as real-world teaching tools meant to teach environmental science for current events our planet faces as a result of humankind’s interactions with it. Some of our classes and campus features grow their own food, produce their own energy, harvest their own water, and contain no toxic materials whatsoever!
LEED Certified School
Grauer is proud to be among the few LEED Certified Schools in Southern California. LEED Certified Schools represent the pinnacle of sustainable living combined with environmentally conscious education. LEED is a globally recognized symbol of excellence in green building, administered by the Green Building Certification Institute which is the certifying body of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Schools pursuing LEED certification earn points across several areas that address sustainability issues.
Our newest buildings received the prestigious LEED Gold certification due to the inclusion of a whole-campus plan. This plan includes solar panels on our rooftops, a highly-efficient HVAC system, a minimal building footprint with increased green space due to the 2-story structure, parking for fuel-efficient vehicles, water-efficient landscaping and plumbing, low-emitting materials, and sophisticated conservation lighting.
The Grauer School also received points for using its sustainable campus as a teaching tool by integrating the features of our facility with our educational mission. Our sustainable campus features two gardens, a greenhouse, an orchard, a hydroponic garden and fish tank, and a two-acre wildlife preserve with marked walking trails. Vegetables, fruits, and herbs from the school’s gardens are used regularly in our teaching kitchen. Classes are often conducted outdoors around our sustainable campus, including in an outdoor classroom space composed of a circle of tree stumps in the wildlife preserve area.
Gardens have been started and incorporated into curricular programs. Students will manage garden and orchard produce from seed to harvest, explore the sustainable economics of locally-grown food and prepare cooked dishes, in our newly built learning kitchen. We have CSA boxes delivered weekly to our campus. Families are able to sign up and take home fresh and seasonal fruits, vegetables, and flowers delivered to us by an organic farmer from Escondido. Our students and faculty have the option to order lunch from Ki’s, a local restaurant that prides themselves on being environmentally and community conscious.
The school will look to continue to reduce its waste output by recapturing green waste in our compost and vermi-compost systems. A consistent recycling system with separate bins for bottles/cans and paper is going to be constructed by our environmental science class and installed in high traffic areas, to encourage student, faculty and staff participation.
Environmental Science for Current Events
The Grauer School specializes in instructing our student body in Environmental Science for Current Events. But just what exactly is environmental science for current events?
Classic Environmental Science focused primarily on earth’s processes and functions. Environmental Science for Current Events frames our planet’s processes and functions in the vital context of humankind’s impact on the fragile, interconnected ecosystems we rely on for the survival of every species, including and in addition to our own.
Environmental Science class for our high school student body provides a comprehensive background in the history and issues of environmental science. This allows students to explore the earth as one interconnected system, helps them imagine how humans can develop sustainable systems, and allows them to create positive change in their school and community.
Grauer students learn to use science to inform the decisions they make as they care for our school’s composting, garden, greenhouse, orchard and vermi-composting system.
Students work closely with staff and volunteers to help enact the Green Grauer Mission of sustainability in energy, food, water, and waste, all contributing beauty and elegance on campus. In this way, the Green Grauer Mission is a fundamentally important component of the education our students receive.
Green Ribbon School
As a Green Ribbon School in San Diego, Grauer enjoys an outstanding tradition of environmental stewardship. Our students take part in outreach programs such as the Surfrider Foundation “Blue Water Task Force,” the UNESCO Teen Eco-Stewards Program, and the San Elijo Lagoon Partnership.
Additionally, the support of active Green Grauer parents will allow our program to reach the next level! Many of our parents have expressed the desire to collaborate with teachers and students in advancing our long-held vision of a sustainable, green campus. We invite anyone to join this new organization, as we improve an already great program. We host regular meetings to coordinate parent and student volunteers who want to help with green projects around campus.
Contact Our Green School Mission Team!
The Grauer Green School Mission is all about education and information, because both have the power to change our lives, and our world, for the better. We welcome you to ask our team any questions you might have about the Grauer green school campus. Please use the box below, or contact us directly.