The PC Green
Penn Charter Environmental Sustainability Workshop
On a beautiful late-summer Saturday in September, a dedicated crew of Penn Charter community members came together for a full day of intense eco-brainstorming. Penn Charter hosted the Penn Charter Environmental Sustainability Workshop, a gathering of diverse school community members brought together in the name of environmental sustainability. The group was challenged to brainstorm the sustainability-related goals outlined in the Strategic Vision, which calls for Penn Charter to “create an environmental plan that fosters a culture of environmental stewardship and develops systems and processes to ensure all decisions are evaluated in light of their environmental effect, with consideration of affordable and sustainable alternatives.”
Wynn Calder, a nationally recognized expert in Education for Sustainability within independent schools, facilitated the workshop. Wynn and I worked together to frame the workshop and its goals into a forum that balanced a desire for broad, creative brainstorming and practical, targeted planning. Think “double-rainbow guy” meets “Spock” and that’s the duality for which we strove. The list of participants was quite diverse - representatives from all three divisions, parents, students, administrators, board members, and local partners - and yet was small enough to allow for focused discussion. Almost every participant brought a unique combination of roles, experiences, and perspectives to the group. For example, one participant was an OPC, a PC Parent, an AT thru-hiker, and an environmental lawyer. Combining both small and large group discussions, we spent the day generating ideas and themes to answer the question: What should an environmentally sustainable Penn Charter look like in 5/10/50 years?I’m happy to report that the event was a terrific success, measured not just in the quantity and quality of the ideas generated, but also in the connectivity of the attendees. United by common interests in environmental issues, education, and community-building, the workshop participants developed a common language that will be helpful as we move forward into the next steps. Those next steps involve finishing the workshop report, assembling appropriate meetings/committees, drafting a plan, and saving the earth. No biggie.
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