"It would be part of my scheme that every youth should learn to do something finely and thoroughly with his hand; [then] he has learned a multitude of other matters which no lips could ever teach him."
THEODATE POPE RIDDLE, FOUNDER
What is Sustainability at Avon Old Farms?
At Avon Old Farms School, we intentionally teach the importance of preserving the future for generations to come. We educate, motivate, and empower each member of the Avon community to help reduce our collective ecological footprint.
Avon Old Farms School has many ongoing sustainability initiatives designed to reduce our carbon footprint and raise awareness about the importance of conservation, including our:
- progressive single-stream recycling system
- bottle-filling water station
- co-generator in Riddle Refectory that assists in heating campus water
- heat reclamation unit inside the Jennings Fairchild Rink
- 200 kWh solar array that results in a 9% reduction of yearly campus-wide electricity usage
Meet Wendy Burki, Our Sustainability Director
"I have a deep love of nature, like to get my hands dirty and consider gardening my meditation. I completed the Master Gardener program at UConn in 2010, worked as a beetle farmer and volunteer at both the Channel 3 Kids’ Camp and The Mark Twain House."
Green living is second nature for a young man at Avon Old Farms School. An Avon student is taught to consider his global impact well beyond his years here on 'the Farm'.
Six of the many ways our boys contribute to an eco-friendly way of life:
Reduce Energy Consumption
Measurable results: Avon Old Farms is the only school to have won the Green Cup Challenge three times – 2010, 2014, and 2015.
Our young men have repeatedly won the Green Cup Challenge, a four-week competition between schools around the world to reduce energy consumption. Our membership to the Green Schools Alliance and Greenleaf Schools promotes student participation to save resources and utilize renewable energy – leaving a lasting impression of a lower carbon footprint by the school as a whole.
Cultivate Our Land
A tradition of caring for the earth: the Nimrod Club is the oldest club in the history of our school.
Our students tap into their personal interests to enhance the sustainability efforts of our community. The Nimrod Club maintains trails around campus, chops firewood for faculty housing, and clears Beaver Pond of debris. Faculty reinforce the importance of maintaining our natural surroundings by taking students out of the classroom to explore the 860-acre campus that constitutes Avon Old Farms School.
Reduce Plastic Usage
Avon students are educated and equipped to make a positive and lasting impact on the environment.
From our reusable water bottles to our water filling stations – our boys are regularly reminded of the resources they use each day in the dorms and in the refectory, leading up to a challenge each year to cut down on waste and promote an eco-friendly lifestyle.
Grow: Seed to Table
Founded on an 'Old Farm': our boys learn the value of food grown organically by hand.
The Varsity Gardening Club cares for the school's community garden, producing fruit and vegetables for school meals, and tending the garden the bees need to produce honey. Our students plant and cultivate the:
- On-site herb garden
- On-site community garden
- On-site pollinator garden
- Community SubEdge Farm
An Avon boy is taught to think beyond himself – even to how a bee can impact the earth's eco-system.
Our students and the Bee Team have built, stabilized and continue to tend three beehives on site. In the last decade, the honey bee population has decreased dramatically; subsequently, our students learn to be aware of environmental issues that could cause extinction and their role in their survival.
Donate Food Waste
Our students are immersed in the immediate community – working alongside local farmers.
Food that is not consumed by the students and faculty at Avon Old Farms is not wasted: animals at the Avon SubEdge Farm benefit from resources that otherwise may be thrown away. Students bring pre-consumer food items to the farm and feed animals, contribute to composting efforts, and assist with general farm tasks.