Peabody School Sustainability Statement
Our mission is to have every member of our Peabody school community consciously making decisions that reflect consideration of the Earth’s well-being, and we want to foster a deeper understanding of environmental issues with a commitment to restoring the planet. As we work toward these goals, we take steps to become a greener community by pursuing sustainable actions and habits and by acting as environmental ambassadors in our larger community.
Drafted and adopted by Peabody School Green Team, Spring 2019
Our Sustainability Initiatives
Educating for Sustainability
- Environmental science provides the backbone of our upper elementary science curriculum, a program which includes studying Earth systems and human impacts, and participating in real-world citizen science projects.
- On April 22, 2021, Ellen Powell, the Conservation Education Coordinator from the Department of Forestry, visited Peabody to announce Peabody’s official certification as a GreenSchool. Project Learning Tree’s GreenSchools program inspires students to apply their STEM and investigative skills to create greener and healthier schools.
- Students participate in The World Peace Game, a problem-solving simulation game in which teams must negotiate and work together to solve complex challenges including an array of ecological crises (land rights, natural resource depletion, pollution, oil spills, and protection of endangered species)
- Led by our 5th grade class, our yearly Earth Day celebration has become a schoolwide favorite. All students from PreKindergarten through 5th grade spend the day learning about sustainability and engaged in environmental education activities, including art projects, outdoor explorations, and presentations from local environmental non-profits.
Greening Our Building
Peabody has taken a number of steps over the years to improve our physical plant, including:
- Lower school building built in 2007 to LEED specifications, including the use of solar tube lighting to maximize natural light in classrooms.
- Student government raised funds to install a water bottle filling station in the Batten Building to encourage students to bring refillable bottles, rather than plastic bottles, for use during the school day.
- In summer 2018, Sun Tribe Solar mounted almost three hundred 350W solar panels on the roof of the Batten gymnasium. The system produces approximately 135,000 kWh annually which is approximately 100% of the Gym’s usage. The Gym and associated class rooms are now effectively net-zero.
- In 2019, student leaders spearheaded an LED light bulb campaign, replacing 100% of the incandescent and fluorescent bulbs in our school buildings with high-efficiency, long-lasting LED bulbs.
Greening Our Habits
- After years as a single-stream facility, Peabody students initiated a recycling program in 2017.
- The Peabody Green Team — consisting of students, faculty, parents, and community members — meets regularly to work toward a shared vision of sustainability in our school.
- As participants in the 2018 Charlottesville Better Business Challenge, students led efforts to decrease Peabody School’s energy usage through schoolwide conservation initiatives.
Our School Yard
- Our Peabody school yard received the designation of being a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat for Earth Day 2013.
- Our graduating class of 2016 raised money to build an outdoor classroom that students and teachers use for lessons throughout the year.
- The Peabody woods and creek serve as a rich outdoor classroom for learning. Upper elementary students participate in “Forest Fridays” and are working on developing an interpretive nature trail.
- Various gardens, including a vegetable garden and a native plant pollinator garden, are cultivated by students each school year. We love eating fresh homegrown veggies and witnessing the monarch butterflies hatch in our pollinator garden each spring!
- In partnership with the Charlottesville Climate Collaborative (C3), Peabody students helped to coordinate our participation in the 2018 Better Business Challenge.
- In 2018, an 8th grade student partnered with the Rainforest Trust to paint a mural and raise awareness for their international conservation work.
- Yearly field trips with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation allow students to make a strong connection to their watershed through hands-on experiences.
- A grant provided in partnership with the Thomas Jefferson Soil & Water Conservation District allowed us to install our native plant pollinator garden in spring of 2017.
- Sun Tribe Solar and Peabody School are part of a 25-year partnership, and Sun Tribe provided all of the capital necessary to engineer and build our solar panel system resulting in no out of pocket costs to Peabody.
- Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) has partnered with our upper elementary school students to conduct a schoolwide energy audit
- The Rivanna Conservation Alliance (RCA) partners with environmental science students to conduct water quality testing in our Peabody creek.
Our environmental science students and Green Team are working on a schoolwide action plan, including:
- Restoring native plantings to our landscape and eliminating invasive species
- Establishing a student-designed Eco-Nature Playground in the Peabody Woods
- Introducing a composting program
- Installing additional solar panels