Nature Based Learning & Sustainability Practices
Environmental stewardship is a strand that has been woven throughout our philosophy, programs, and physical plant since our founding in 1962.
Early School students learn where their food comes from at a local strawberry farm; the Lower School tends its garden, nourished by soil from its compost bin; Middle Schoolers research the carbon footprint of commonly purchased goods; and Upper Schoolers create a pop-up permaculture farm with 100% re-used and recycled materials. These are all examples of the ways in which our Quaker-based attention to stewardship is enacted by our students.
Careful use of our 126-acre main campus has been at the forefront of our School's leadership and community from day one. Our Shop crew work to continually monitor and improve our physical plant, and our staff Stewardship Committee works, often in conjunction with student groups, to ensure that CFS is adopting best practices in sustainability matters.
In 2013, an environmental audit found that CFS spends well below the national average on energy per square foot compared to other educational institutions. We pump all of our water and sewage with this power as well as satisfy all of our other electric demands.
Sustainability was a focus of capital improvements made through the Building Friends campaign, including renovations to the Middle School leading to its LEED certification, and installing geothermal heating and cooling systems in The Quaker Dome, the new Lower School addition, and our soon to open Performing Arts Center. A state-of-the-art greenhouse enables our students to grow and monitor a variety of plants, and provides a bridge to our partners at the Duke Campus Farm. Our Lower School and Middle School gardens provide hands-on learning opportunities and soil-to-table edibles. There are also over 240 photovoltaic panels installed across campus, thanks to a generous corporate donation. Our students play a crucial role in our School's stewardship and sustainability efforts.
CFS is a member of the Green Schools Alliance, whose mission is "to connect and empower K-12 schools worldwide to lead the transformation to global sustainability." Uniquely created by schools for schools, the GSA is a global network of schools working together to solve climate and conservation challenges.
At Carolina Friends School, children inhabit and explore the natural world, whether they are experiencing science in the woods, walking the nature trail, writing poetry on the upper field, or tending salad greens in our garden. Libby Pittman Pendergrast,
Head of Campus Early School