Environmental Courses, Groups, and Trips
In order for students to make decisions that take into account economics, ethics, and the environment, education is a necessity. With one course in the Middle School and one in the Upper School, Belmont Hill offers two classes devoted solely to environmental science. Being interdisciplinary, environmental science is also integrated into various other courses throughout the curriculum through other sciences courses, like Form I Life Science and Chemistry, and courses in the humanities in courses like American Literature to 1900 and AP United States History.
Middle and Upper School Groups
Belmont Hill School has activity groups representing both middle and upper school students who are interested in participating in ongoing discussions about environmental issues.
The Middle School Green Team
The MS Green Team is a group which gathers weekly to discuss the environment. Middle school students educate each other on the problems in the environment around their school. The students watch educational movies during their meetings as well as discuss their school’s energy usage. One major event that the students take part in is the Green Cup Challenge which occurs in February and March, and the students check the school-wide meters to keep up with energy-usage numbers. In the past few years, the group has come close to winning, but the overall effort to reduce the school’s energy consumption is a victory in and of itself. Overall, the group becomes educated with environmental issues in order to make changes when the enter the Upper School and join the USSG.
The Upper School Sustainability Group
The purpose of USSG is to unite students who share an interest in the environment and becoming sustainable. The group works to educate the community on current issues pertaining to the environment as well as promote sustainable change on campus. The group also seeks to reach out to surrounding communities and strives to create a more environmentally friendly society. With human habits currently destructive to the world, we hope to do our part to shift our way of thinking, our actions, and our treatment of others.
Collaboration with the Habitat
The Environmental Science course takes advantage of an ongoing relationship with Habitat, a property owned and managed by Massachusetts Audubon, which is contiguous with Belmont Hill’s campus.
Three times a semester, students in these courses spend a double period in the wood at Habitat, engaged in a variety of seasonal activities including:
1. Pond ecology – establishing water quality by sampling species diversity
2. Study of vernal pools and identification of species
3. Invasive species identification and eradication
4. Studying fungi and decomposition
5. Maple sugaring practices
6. Tree identification
7. Wildlife assessment – salamander and bird box studies
Periodically, groups of Belmont Hill students have performed community service at Habitat and been engaged in trail maintenance or expanded efforts to eradicate invasive plants on the property.