Planting Seeds to Care
Will Robinson

 

Dear St. Andrew's Family,

As I write this, young people around the world are demonstrating ahead of Monday’s Climate Action Summit at the United Nations, in an effort to demand action from the world’s leaders. We’re joining them with a teach-in that includes writing letters to local newspapers in support of climate change legislation, such as those proposed by the new bipartisan climate caucus in the Senate.
 
My journey to this moment began with recently retired life sciences teacher Dr. Peter McLean. For other alums, it was likely William H. Amos. Both men decided to dedicate the bulk of their professional lives to educating young people on the beauty, splendor, and necessity of the natural world and, in turn, to doing everything they could to protect it.
 
Working quietly on my bird, wildflower, and leaf projects or taking weekend trips to Hawk Mountain under Dr. McLean’s direction wasn’t nearly as much about being able to identify species as it was about planting seeds to care. When asked recently what individuals can do to help solve the climate crisis, Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg responded, “Educate themselves.”
 
Our stewardship of St. Andrew’s 2,200 acres, a sanctuary within the continued sprawl of Middletown, places the School in a unique position to educate outside the classroom—and to lead. Mr. Amos and Dr. McLean both understood this, and we are building on their legacy.  
 
More than 100 students signed up for the relaunch of our Outing Club, led by history teacher Grace Gahagan, with 19 students stepping up to lead camping trips, hikes, and boating adventures. Three new canoes joined the Noxontown Pond fleet this week, and weekend plans more intentionally include outdoor experiences. This weekend features a planting party in the Organic Garden, a sunset canoe trip, a beach cleanup at Elk River Beach, apple picking, and a guided hike through the Noxontown woods. The III Form embarks on a night hike this evening, while the VI Form will gather around a campfire for s’mores under the stars. Next Saturday, our annual Pond Day features over 20 outdoor adventures for students, which we hope will lead to many more unscheduled adventures throughout the seasons.
 
Simultaneously, campus continues to become more environmentally sustainable thanks to the ongoing collaboration of students, alumni, Director of Sustainability Diana Burk, Head of School Tad Roach, our Facilities Team, and the Board of Trustees. The newly renovated Amos Hall will be the latest LEED-certified building on campus. Six new electric charging stations were installed last week, and for the first time ever, 100% of St. Andrew’s electricity now comes from renewable sources.
 
There’s still much more work to do, but the will is there and ideas are leading to action. I hope you will be part of the conversations here on campus and let us know how we can share our energy with you in your efforts at home.

In partnership,
Will Robinson ‘97
Dean of Student Life
wrobinson@standrews-de.org

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