Upper School
Upper School

Green Initiatives

Walker's organic gardenIn February 2007, The Ethel Walker School Board of Trustees adopted the following policy to reflect the School's commitment to the environment:

The Ethel Walker School is committed to protect and enhance the environment through education, research, community service and responsible administration. We seek to foster a community that teaches environmental awareness, local action, global responsibility, and the necessity of sustaining ecological systems. Environmentally sound practices are a core value of the School, and we endorse the following fundmental principles which will promote health, comfort and productivity, while enhancing the earth for future generations: 


  • Educate our students, faculty and staff to be responsible stewards of the earth, encouraging good environmental practices and sustainability through leadership and action
  • Protect our natural resources, particularly within our local community and the land that defines the school campus
  • Seek and evaluate opportunities to build or renovate campus buildings in ways that protect the environment and nature
  • Partner with local energy providers to conserve and reduce the consumption of natural resources

Environmental Programs and Initiatives

In support of this statement, Walker's has put into effect a number of environmentally-conscientious programs and initiatives, and continues to be active in the research and implementation of such undertakings:

  • Walker's LEED Certified Head's HousePermanent conservation of hundreds of acres within Walker's Woods, in concert with the Town of Simsbury and its voters, The Trust for Public Land, and with significant support from the Walker's community of faculty, staff, alumnae, parents, student and friends
  • Incorporation of an environmentally conscious curriculum, such as Environmental Science or Studies
  • Organic Gardening producing donations to local food banks
  • Construction within LEED (Leadership in Energy and Design) guidelines as set forth by the United States Council of Green Buildings, resulting in LEED certification
  • Energy efficient lighting systems in the academic center, gymnasium and dormitories
  • Partnering with Connecticut Light and Power to identify areas where energy conservation measures are applicable
  • Solar Panels on the van Gemeren ObservatoryDual Power Units, allowing the School to switch between energy sources based on costs
  • Solar-powered van Gemeren Observatory
  • Campus-wide recycling of paper, cardboard, plastic and glass
  • Green Committee to review procedures and research new approaches
  • Efficient planning for new construction, avoiding wetland space
  • Applicant for status as a community recycling center for cellphones and rechargeable batteries
  • Partnership with Farmington River Watershed Association; the group has commissioned Walker's Environmental Science class to produce a Public Service Annoucement
  • Environmentally friendly cleaning products and recycled garbage bags
  • Retrofitting of lighting fixtures resulting in a decrease in energy usage
  • Trayless dining in Abra's, the school dining room, reducing food waste and energy consumption
  • Host site for numerous Town of Simsbury meetings concerning the environment
  • On campus arboretum; students will be handling tree identification and labeling

In the Classroom

Environmental Stewardship Additionally, the faculty at Walker's have built environmental awareness into the school's curriculum. For instance, English classes read Loren Eiseley's The Immense Journey, a naturalist work about sensitivity to the environment. The History Department has implemented the use of the CHOICES Program produced by Brown University, a lesson plan covering environmental issues and U.S. policy. Economics reviews case studies such as Why Should We Pay for What We Throw Away? The Science Department curriculum utilizes scientific investigation with Walker's campus as a resource, involving pollution and how it affects our health, global warming, energy alternatives, and ecology. The department also includes the school's Environmental Studies program. The Art Department implements the use and re-use of materials and creative solutions to dispose of caustic materials.

Bringing together the efforts of all Walker's constituencies as well as the government and community reaffirms the School's commitment to the environment.

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