"Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves
of strength that will endure as long as life lasts."
– Rachel Carson
At Greenwood School, we have a nature and environmental studies (NEST) classroom that is unparalleled—The National Parks in our backyard. The Marin Headlands, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, John Muir National Monument, Point Reyes National Seashore, and Richardson Bay Audubon Center and Sanctuary are among the many stunning parks our students access one day each week to experience and experiment in nature.
Exploring local fauna and ecosystems introduces the students to geography, history, biology, astronomy, geology, agriculture, meteorology, chemistry, zoology, physics. The list goes on. The purpose is to have nature itself unfurl the complexities of the sciences.
Our 1st and 2nd graders begin to understand the changing seasons and what that means for larger world as well as their inner world of emotions and self-regulation. 3–5th grade begins to grasp the interconnectedness of working the land to survive and grow as an individual, a community and a species. Middle School (6–8th) explores the human responsibility inherent in living in the natural world—harnessing energy, population growth, pollution—essentially investigating the synergy of biodiversity.
The NEST program provides real-life opportunities for science education as a learning process based on encounter (doing), experience (feeling), and development of concepts (thinking). The resulting environmental stewardship naturally develops and we see these students bring it all back to campus with their active roles in composting, recycling, and community service.