Sixth Annual Sustainability Symposium
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Each Spring, Darrow School's Sustainability Symposium brings together students and teachers from regional middle and high school green teams to learn about and discuss topics in sustainability, both local and global, with professional engineers, educators, diplomats, chefs, farmers, filmmakers, architects, spiritual leaders, health and wellness professionals, and more. The goal of the day is for participants to emerge with information, contacts, and strategies that they can return with and apply to their own education and work.
The symposium is free and open to the public, and features presentations on a wide range of topics by local and regional leaders in the green movement.
The Fifth Annual Darrow School Sustainability Symposium was held on Tuesday, April 23, 2013.
See photos from the Fifth Annual Sustainability Symposium.
The program ran from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and included a keynote address delivered by the students of the Mountainside Chapter of Rho Kappa, an international social studies honor society. This engaging and interactive presentation focused on the work that Rho Kappa is doing to translate the UN Millennium Development Goals into relevant, actionable lifestyles for young people.
The session was mediated by Norman Nicholson, Darrow School Class of 1955. Formerly of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Nicholson is one of the members of the team that originally developed the Millennium Development Goals at the Development Assistance Committee in Paris in the late 1990s, and then worked with other development agencies to get them adopted by the United Nations.
Darrow also welcomed back a number of presenters this year, including several Darrow School alumni who have participated in previous symposiums. In addition to Nicholson, these included Bill Ewald ’61, formerly of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Michael Hardiman ’75 of Hargidon Architecture + Design, Boston, MA; and Ryan Holt ’94 of Multifunctional Landscapes, St. Johnsbury, VT.
A number of concurrent sessions were held throughout the day, covering topics such as:
Media inquiries: Steve Ricci, Director of Communications, at 518-794-6004, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Energy and Economy of Solar Power: Participants will examine current technologies for solar electric (photovoltaic) systems, and explore innovative methods for funding.
- Flying Deer: Experts and budding young naturalists will learn how to track, move, and think like our abundant wildlife neighbor, the white-tailed deer.
- Behind the Shaker Scene: Enjoy a tour of the historic Darrow campus to learn about various recent energy conservation measures the School has taken to improve human, economic, and environmental sustainability.
- An Introduction to Permaculture Design: We will look for and talk about microclimates and the role they play in design, touching on the surprising number of edible perennials hardy enough to survive our cold winters. We will also discuss the three permaculture ethics: Care of Earth, Care of People, and Return the Surplus, and talk about how we use them as a lens through which to see design potentials.
- Ecology Walk into Shaker Swamp: Take a leisurely walk across the Darrow meadows and through the forest down to Shaker Swamp. Along the way, we'll study some of the signs of early spring life (e.g., wildflowers, birds, and more), as well as past land use history. (For a full experience, please wear high rubber boots and be prepared to slosh out into the heart of the swamp. )
- Green Product Placement: Learn how corporations are trying to green themselves, and how other industries might employ these tactics.
- Sustainability at the U.S. EPA: Explore efforts by the Environmental Protection Agency in the area of sustainability practices and approaches, including the labeling of green products; promoting green chemistry and engineering; managing materials rather than creating waste; using green infrastructure to manage storm-water runoff; and supporting the sustainable design of communities.
- Greening the Learning Environment: Discover how Darrow's own Science Building is being re-envisioned as a more energy-efficient and functional building by means of an extensive exterior retrofit. Learn how to use the same state-of-the-art 3D modeling software used in the design of the retrofit.
- How to Harness Free Energy: Explore current technologies in solar thermal systems that use free energy from the sun to heat water.
- Building Naturalist Skills Towards a Sense of Place: Use the Darrow landscape as a study of several topics in nature.
- Outdoor Adventure and Environmental Service: This session is for students who are interested in participating in summer expeditions involving wilderness adventure, environmental field study, service learning, and cross cultural exchange.
Corporate sponsors of past Darrow School Sustainability Symposiums have included:
Schedule of Events
*(fee and RSVP required for lunch)
- Keynote speech
- Morning and Afternoon Concurrent Sessions
- Locavore Lunch*
2013 Sustainability Symposium Sponsors