We want our green journey to continue to instill in our students and community a sense of wonder and respect for our world. We want to inspire our studnts to care for the environment, in small ways every day and in big ways when possible.
We will continue to maintain our Monarch Waystation, our worm farm, and our herb garden to be enjoyed by the whole community. We would also like to have the students in each grade plant and tend more air purifying plants in each classroom.
Our teachers remain committed to environmental education in each grade, and we hope to incorporate more field trips for hands on learning. Strawberry Hill, The Good Soil Farm, and Trout Unlimited have been been our partners for many years, and we hope to expand outdoor education opportunities through these programs.
We have learned much about using digital resources rather than paper throughout the pandemic and we will continue to reduce paper waste by using Google Classroom, sharing Google Docs, using Kahoot and other online learning game sites, and continuing to provide the Tuesday News digitally. Our creative teachers would like to learn more about digital tools and apps that we can use to enhance the learning experience of every student without the use of paper and other supplies.
Mother Seton School will proudly remain committed to not being consumers of single use plastic wheneber we can. Our bottle filling stations teach our students that plastic single use water bottles are wasteful and unnecessary. As covid restrictions allow, we plan on returning to less plastic waste inthe cafeteria. We would also like to incorporate learning about prevention of microplastics.
Changes in behavior throughout the school include:
Water bottle filling stations have been installed throughout the school. All students were given a reusable water bottle in an effort to cut out plastic waste.
Our weekly newsletter to parents is now only available online:
Tuesday News is no longer available in print form. An email is sent out each Tuesday notifying families when Tuesday News is posted. Current and archived newsletters are found on the website.
Reduce Cafeteria Waste
We are using biodegradable paper products to serve sandwiches and pizza (1/22)
We serve local produce from Catoctin Mountain Orchards and dairy products from Dairy Maid, a local dairy supplier who use only local dairy farms and local produce to supply our milk.
Reusable batteries placed in each classroom.
Motion-Sensing Lights are installed in bathrooms, the Sabbath Room, and the Teacher Workroom to reduce electricity waste.
Using daylight wherever possible. Skylights are installed in our hallways and cafeteria.
Giving students the responsibility of turning off the lights as they leave the classroom.
Hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed in the classrooms, negating the need for individual plastic bottles of sanitizer.
Our HVAC system has been designed to run at maximum energy efficiency, as well as maintain comfortable temperature ranges. The system is under constant supervision both onsite and remotely to ensure that is is kept at peack efficiency. We now have the capability to shut down areas not in use. The system has also eliminated the need for a hot water heating "loop" to heat the school, which reduces water usage as well.
Paper recycling bins are located throughout the school and in each classroom.
We recycle ink and toner cartridges from school use and also accept cartridges from the community.
Our entire staff is commited to helping our students be good stewards of God's gifts to us. We often discuss our Green Mission at staff meetings, which are attended by all teachers.
Staff Development Day 3/22
All of our teachers studied various aspects of microplastics, including where they come from, health affects, ways to reduce exposure and ways to reduce use of products that result in microplastics in our environment. We also explored various lesson plan ideas to use with each grade.
2 of our Science teachers attended the Chesapeake Coversations virtual PD workshops on social justice and action projects for schools provided by Towson University.
Our Science Curriculum Cordinator attended a PD webinar on cicadas led by Mary K Stapleton of Towson University. Materials from the webinar were shared with interested teachers to be used in classroom instruction.
Earth Day (April 22) is always a schoolwide celebration, with each class designing their own way to celebrate and share our efforts to take care of the Earth.
Blessing of the Animals
An annual tradition at Mother Seton School is the Blessing of the Animals Service. Members of our school community
bring their pets to be blessed and celebrated. Taking care of God's creatures is another way that we can be good
stewards of the Earth! (10/4/21)
Pre-K through Second Grade Students visited the Good Soil Farm during the Spring of 2021. Students participated in planting seeds in small containers to take home, interacting with, feeding, and learning about farm animals and a nature walk. Older students also learned how to transplant seasonal crops.
Each spring, our Pre-K students plant seeds as part of a unit on plants. Students learn about what a seed needs in order to grow into a flower or plant. (4/21)
Students also learn about reusing materials to create art and other projects. (3/21)
Prior to the pandemic, students learned about the seasons at the Renfrew Institute for Cultural and Environmental Studies as they participate in the EarthSeekers program, a "year-long environmental education pgoram which ties the nature center, school, and home together to create a comprehensice learning experience." (Renfrew brochure). We hope to return to Renfrew as soon as it is safe to do so.
Students also learn about reusing materials by creating projects using only recyclable materials that they gather at home and at school. Pictured are students creating marble tracks (3/2021)
First graders learn about endangered species, habitats, ecosystems, and the role we play in caring for the environment.
Pictured are students learning about water pollution (2/20)
Each year our second graders plant small gardens during Lent to take home. These Resurrection Gardens demonstrate the wonder of the Resurrection.
Students in the second grade learn about erosion. The cookie lab is a fun way to explore the power of water (1/21)
The Butterfly Garden and Monarch Waystation are important responsibilities of the second grade. Each year, students learn about life cycles as they hatch Monarch butterflies. Students keep journals as they watch the process of the life cycle occur.
Butterfly Release 9/16/21
Third grade students (prior to Covid) visited the Catoctin Zoo to explore habitats and ecosystems. We hope to resume our annual trip to the zoo as soon as it is safe to do so.
Pictured are students at the zoo, 5/19
Students also study food chains as part of their science curriculum, learning about producers, consumers and decomposers. (picture is from 2/19)
Third grade students pictured below are learning about our weather station from Senior Master Sergeant (Ret) Lyle Tayler.
Third grade students make 'grassheads' to explore seed germination (10/21)
St. Patrick's Day in the fourth grade is celebrated with a plant adoption. Students take home a plant to care for and nurture.
Students in the fourth grade use the engineering design process to decrease the impact of natural disasters. Pictured are students attempting to prevent flooding (2/22)
Fifth grade students learn about energy in ecosystems and how human activities affect Earth's systems. This year, the class has been able to learn about ecosystems through the eyes of a student who is visiting Antarctica, Alaska, and the Mediterranean. Pictured are students face-timing with her (1/22). They also read the family's blog.
All Middle School students participated in the Environmental Fair on November 17, 2021.Students conducted experiments or created inventions to explore environmental topics. Testing the health of local waterways using daphnia, biodiversity hunts, inventing cosmetics without harmful chemicals and microbeads, devices to water plants, using a 3-D printer to develop a more eco-friendly 6-pack holder and best color for birdhouses were a few of the creative and varied topics.
Sixth grade students perform soil studies, bringing soil from home to compare with one another. Our school community is fairly geographically diverse, so soils can be quite different. Students plant seeds to compare the soils, as well as conduct soil analysis to measure pH, nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium as we study the importance of soil conservation.
Sixth grade students also learn about water conservation. Each year we conduct water tests on the rill on our grounds. Students test dissolved oxygen, nitarate and phosphate levels, pH and turbidity. (Photo 10/20)
Students create water pollution mysteries for other students to solve (2/22)
Students learn to be good stewards of our creeks and streams by raising trout from eggs as participants in the Trout in the Classroom program. Mother Seton School has been raising trout since 2011 as part of our ongoing commitment to helping our students understand our responsibilities as caretakers of God's creation.
Pictured are students caring for the trout (1/22)
Pictured above are students releasing the trout into a local waterway. Students conduct a stream study to gauge the health of the stream. (6/2019)
Seventh grade students also study animal behavior, using worms from our Worm Farm to conduct simple experiments. (09/21)
The Eighth Grade Class helps to tend the rain garden that keeps oil and gas from the parking lot from reaching Willow Rill and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay. (photo 2/22)
Students identifying plants from the rain garden (10/21)
Students in the eighth grade also study forms of energy and do research projects to explore the pros and cons of various energy forms (wind, solar, nuclear, biomass, and geothermal)
Pictured below are samples of student work concerning rainforest conservation as part of a Social Studies lesson (1/22)