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A Green School


Environmental stewardship has been a core value of The Athenian School since it was founded in 1965. As one of the pillars of Round Square, environmental stewardship is practiced, modeled and encouraged in many ways throughout the curriculum and in campus initiatives.

Athenian is a member of the Green Schools Alliance, a consortium of public and private schools working together to conserve resources and reduce greenhouse emissions, and is also a full-credited member of the Contra Costa Green Business Program.
Environmental Stewardship In the Curriculum
Middle School Curriculum
In the Middle School, the environmental stewardship pillar is woven into the curriculum through science and elective classes, as well as many Focus Day activities, such as clean-up excursions to Tilden Park and Mt. Diablo. Community service projects include cleaning the Hayward shoreline and gardening.

Upper School Curriculum
In the Upper School, the environmental stewardship pillar is included in the curriculum of the applied science, physics, biology, visual design, art of architecture and environmental science classes. Earth Day symposiums feature speakers from environmental groups, 9th graders participate in campus-wide recycling, and many community service weekend trips focus on environmental clean-up. Seniors have also created their own independent environmental projects, such as permaculture landscaping. In addition, international Interim and Round Square trips include a service project component, many of which are environmental.

Conservation Club
An Upper School student-run environmental club actively works to implement energy and waste savings measures on campus. Current initiatives include banning the use of styrofoam and single-use beverage containers on campus, monitoring thermostats, improving composting efforts and more.

Garden Projects
Athenian's organic garden is a showcase for sustainability and features an Earth Tub composting system, drip-irrigation and a chicken coop. Students delivered 1,200 pounds of produce to Athenian's kitchen last year and produced 8,000 pounds of organic fertilizer. Composting efforts diverted some 10,000 pounds of potential trash from landfill.
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Athenian Wilderness Experience
In the Athenian Wilderness Experience, students learn to appreciate nature and develop sound ecological practices. Instructors are rigorous about leave-no-trace ethics and the course incorporates ecological service projects to restore the natural landscape.

Electric Car Project
This project is an ambitious program that will help a conventional automobile kick the gas habit and provide a green campus shuttle vehicle. Students will take an existing gas-powered car, remove the engine and supporting infrastructure and install an electric motor and batteries that can be recharged by energy collected locally from our own solar PV array.
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Bioswale Project
Students in the environmental studies class designed and created the bioswale project to re-direct water runoff from the hills.
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Campus Initiatives
Solar Energy
Perched on the hillside above the baseball fields is a solar array in the shape of an "A" that provides more than 70% of Athenian's electricity needs. In addition, solar panels that heat the pool are installed on the roof of the gym, and solar panels on the roof of the Dase Center and the Center for the Arts provide electricity for those buildings. Track the Solar A’s daily production. (ID = athenian; password = owls.) Track the Dase Center's daily energy use.

Waste Diversion: Recycling and Compost
Nearly 60% of Athenian's hauled waste is recycled content. About 10% of previously hauled waste is composted. Students participate in campus-wide recycling efforts and recycling bins are paired with landfill bins all across the campus.

Water Conservation
Nearly 2 million gallons of water was saved annually with the installation of the Estakhri Family Sports Field, an all-weather field with recycled infill. In addition, water-saving plumbing fixtures, micro water heaters and landscaping policies add to the School's commitment to reduce water usage.
Sustainability Projects
View a video of Athenian students in action.

Track the performance of the Center's solar array.

Learn how permaculture works.

Learn more about Athenian's solar "A."

From the Fall 2009 issue of The Athenian Magazine.
Green Stories
Athenian Environmental Awards
Acterra Environmental Award for Sustainability
Athenian earned Acterra's 2013 Business Environmental Award for Sustainability. Read the press release.

Green Ribbon School
Athenian was named a Green Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education in April, 2012. Read the press release.

Diablo Magazine Eco-Award
The Athenian School won the the Best in Show: Contra Costa Eco-Award from Diablo Magazine in March, 2012. The award is given to schools that lead the way in the green revolution.
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EPA Green Power Partner
Athenian has been named a Green Power Partner by the Environmental Protection Agency in recognition of our efforts to reduce the risk of climate change through green power purchasing.

WRAP Award
In 2009 and 2010, Athenian won the Waste Reduction Award from the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) for improving the environment by reducing landfill waste.

School of the Year Award
Athenian won the School of the Year awarded by Sustainable Contra Costa on September 29, 2010.

ACE Grant
In 2009, Athenian was the recipient of a grant from the Alliance for Climate Education to implement various green programs, such as converting a car from gas to electric.

Sloat Garden Grant
In June 2010, The Athenian School received an Adopt A Garden Grant from Sloat Garden Center in Danville for use in the permaculture garden.