Making an Impact: AP Environmental Science Students Propose Green Initiatives

Following a rigorous year studying college-level environmental science and after taking their exam, students in Lindsey Bowser’s AP Environmental Science class took it upon themselves to research, refine, and present proposals for reducing waste at Foxcroft. Who better to bring a fresh perspective on “going green” to the School?

The class divided into two groups. Brittany H., Morgan R., Grace K., and Jacina H-B. from the Class of 2017 and rising senior Melanie F. focused on increasing composting efforts across the community. Hannah B., Xiaojing L., and Millie M. from the Class of 2017 proposed ways to improve recycling efforts and reduce waste overall.
Composting, Brittany, Morgan, Grace, Jacina, and Melanie explained, helps reduce carbon emissions from methane gases generated by food waste breaking down in landfills. Compost also benefits campus gardening efforts. To fund their efforts, the girls requested a $600 grant to invest in composting bins to be located in several locations across campus, as well as a designated receptacle in the Dining Hall to collect compostable food, such as vegetables, eggshells, and coffee, from the kitchen and from diners after finishing their meals.

They hope their initiatives would include students, faculty, and staff from the Maintenance Department and the Dining Hall, and would live on as a legacy next year and beyond.

Hannah, Xiaojing, and Millie focused on ways to improve recycling and waste reduction efforts across campus. Their request for a $370 grant would fund individual recycling bins within each dorm room, as well as the materials needed for increased signage across campus. The girls outlined several types of educational materials, including lists of recyclable items and reminders to turn off lights when leaving a space. The group advocated for more mindful use of energy for lighting across campus, too, especially in buildings that close overnight (such as the gymnasium and the library).

“Foxcroft has always instilled in us the idea of giving back,” observed Millie, “and we think it’s important to do that with our environment.”

Both groups fielded questions from Head of School Cathy McGehee, STEM Department Chair Maria Evans, PH.D., and students of Dr. Evan’s AP Computer Science class, who all attended their presentation. Besides working through logistics and clarifying points, Mrs. McGehee queried the girls about the reality of making these efforts come to fruition, since the majority of the class graduated in May. Would it come down to Melanie carrying out their plans? Since many of the most successful initiatives are student-driven at Foxcroft, the girls were confident that student groups that are also passionate about the environment, such as Blue Planet, could help Melanie follow through on their plans. In addition, student-led educational opportunities would take shape in the form of Morning Meeting presentations, where girls could work to increase involvement and awareness of their initiatives.

Given the thoughtful breadth of attainable ideas these students generated and the lasting impact they could make, we are optimistic about Foxcroft’s “green” future being in the hands of our girls, as well.
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An all-girls boarding and day school in Northern Virginia, Foxcroft prepares young women in grades 9-12 for success in college and in life. Our outstanding academic program offers challenging courses, including Advanced Placement classes and an innovative STEM program. Our premiere equestrian program is nationally recognized, and our athletic teams have won conference and state championships. Experience the best in girls' boarding schools: visit Foxcroft.