MSNV uses only environmentally safe cleaning products for daily school cleaning, and our integrated pest management program avoids using pesticides and herbicides.
As with their indoor work, the students work outdoors with child-sized tools and self-directed lesson boxes. They learn about worms and soil, observe sun and shade, listen to sounds, and identify colors. These activities reinforce a respect for all living things and help them reflect on nature to experience an inner quiet and peace.
In 2008, the National Wildlife Federation recognized MSNV’s environmental leadership by certifying the schoolyard as a wildlife habitat. Our certification stemmed from our long history of providing clean water and shelter to wildlife, as well as of abiding by sustainable gardening practices such as mulching, composting and eliminating chemical pesticides and fertilizers.
Rain barrels are located on both sides of the school. Students use this water for all outdoor projects from watering plants to cleaning up. The students are conscientious about composting their food waste into MSNV’s two large compost bins. The composted material is then used in the school’s gardens. Leaves and garden debris are raked into the woods to decompose instead of being bagged and put into the dumpster.
Our students and families also participate in community activities. Over the summer of 2008, MSNV families rescued plants slated for demolition and used them to start a native plant garden along the school’s hiking trail. In the fall of 2008, the school organized a trash pick-up at the entrance to the Hillbrook neighborhood, across from George Mason library. The students routinely pick up trash along the stream valley when they take their weekly hikes.
At MSNV we are always looking for ways to be more responsible inhabitants of the earth and to provide a safe, forward-thinking learning environment for our students. We hope that through these small steps, our students and families will learn the golden rule of sustainability – that we should leave our world a better place than we found it. MSNV aspires to be the healthiest, happiest environment it can be. If you have suggestions for green policies or practices, please contact the Coop Committee chair.