The Lawrenceville School takes a holistic approach to campus sustainability by focusing on land and water conservation, reducing energy use, and improved materials flows to promote ecological literacy and citizenship. The School grounds provide abundant educational opportunities for students and the local community that draw on the legacy of noted alumnus and ecologist Aldo Leopold (Class of 1905) and celebrated landscape architect and campus designer Frederick Law Olmsted. As a result, students add a new dimension to their lifelong learning journey, connect their efforts to the goals and needs of the broader community, and grow in their appreciation for the natural world.
Sustainable Agriculture and Conservation
The Lawrenceville School is surrounded by hundreds of acres of School-owned forests, wetlands, and farmland that offer boundless educational and ecological potential. The School employs ecological principles to forest stewardship, agricultural practices, habitat protection, and conservation. These include sustainable farming practices for soil and water conservation, and new measures to improve and protect campus waterways. This is especially evident at the School’s 30-acre Big Red Farm that uses organic methods to produce a variety of crops and meat for the School dining hall, School Camp, and area food pantries. Furthermore, a partnership with the Stroud Water Research Center of Avondale, Penn., will involve long-term monitoring of the campus watershed as part of practices aimed at reducing runoff into campus waterways. As a tributary of the Delaware River that provides drinking water for millions downstream, measures to improve water quality of the Shipetaukin Creek here on campus will serve those in nearby cities and towns in need of clean drinking water.
Stroud Water Research Center Partnership
The Lawrenceville School is pleased to announce it has received funding for a baseline study of water quality in the campus stream known as the Shipetaukin Creek that is part of the Delaware River Basin. The Fair Play Foundation of Wilmington, Delaware, led by Blaine Philips P'22 will support a partnership beginning in the spring of 2020 with the internationally-recognized Stroud Water Research Center of Avondale, Pennsylvania.
The Lawrenceville School solar array consists of a 30-acre, 6.1 megawatt solar facility from a total of 24,934 solar panels. The array offsets over 4,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, the equivalent of taking 850 cars off the road each year. Power from the panels is sold as Renewable Energy Credits on the open market. As an energy provider, the panels help our local utility fulfill its state-mandated renewable energy targets.
Green Building and Carbon Emissions
In an effort to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, Lawrenceville addresses energy efficiency through green building techniques for current and recent construction projects. The school has five LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) buildings: Pop Hall, the math wing of the Kirby Math and Science Center, Carter House, the Al-Rashid Health and Wellness Center, and the Gruss Center for Art and Design. Plans are in place for a sixth LEED building with the Tsai Field House to be completed in 2023.
Recycling, Compost, and Waste ProgramsLawrenceville students have recently revived recycling and compost efforts. For recycling, students are working in partnership with our recycling facility, All County Recycling of Trenton, and hauler, Waste Management, to reduce the amount of trash that ends up in recycling bins. Lawrentians are also leading efforts to compost food waste from student plate scrapings in the dining halls to avoid sending those materials to the landfill. A large rotating composter at the Big Red Farm receives vegetable-based plate scrapings and, when combined with leaves for a carbon source, turns the materials into a soil amendment for the Farm. Finally, students are making efforts to reduce landfill contributions with new initiatives for reusable plates in Houses and club offices, and for reusable water bottles in athletics instead of single-use sports drink bottles.
Leopold Scholars began a long-term study of water quality in the Shipetaukin Creek that flows through the Lawrenceville campus and connects with the Delaware River Watershed. As part of a partnership with the Watershed Institute and the Stroud Water Research Center, students documented conditions of the creek and monitored water quality in advance of stream restoration efforts planned for the Tsai Field House project.
Christabelle Sutter '23 describes her experience as an intern on the Big Red Farm.
Things got a bit sticky in the Kirby Science and Math Center last week as Director of Sustainability Steve Laubach scraped and spun honeycombs from the Big Red Farm to extract honey. The Farm has two active hives containing around 50,000 bees that are capable of producing up to 60 lbs. of honey twice a year. Harvests are collected in July and October.
The Lawrenceville School is pleased to announce the students selected as 2020-21 Big Red Farm and Sustainability Interns.