Students in the Environmental Sustainability Signature Program will be able to further take advantage of and enhance West Nottingham’s status as Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE) Certified Sustainable School.Learn More
West Nottingham faculty work separately in their subject areas and together across the curriculum on exciting lesson plans that cover everything from tree identification and Chesapeake Bay conservation to understanding environmental impact in history and writing nature poetry and more. Faculty use approaches that engage the sciences and math as well as the arts and humanities to give students a broad experience in understanding their relationship with the world.
At West Nottingham, we continually and in every facet of our daily lives consider our impact on the earth that sustains us. We work to reduce our impact through consuming less and reusing whatever we can before we turn to recycling or creating waste. Our actions are based on understanding how our behaviors impact our world and transitioning our behaviors to put us in a healthy and reciprocal relationship with Earth.
The whole West Nottingham community participates in our food waste diversion program. Each week members of our community deliver our food waste receptacles to the Kilby Farm methane digester. We clean them and return them to dorms and the dining hall. We divert over 6 tons of food waste over the course of an average school year. We reduce our carbon and methane footprint and contribute to the production of green energy and fertilizer for the farm. The farm uses the energy and fertilizer to produce the milk and ice cream we buy from Kilby Cream, a wonderful example of a closed-loop system. Mr. Kilby donated the dairy case in our dining hall where we keep our bottled milk. The glass bottles also help us to reduce our plastic usage and waste.
The West Nottingham community takes the climate change crisis seriously. In accordance with a climate change action plan that is part of our three-year sustainability strategic plan, West Nottingham is taking multiple actions to reduce our carbon footprint, including use of solar panels, diversion of food waste for use in methane digestion, and replanting significant number of acres of our campus with native trees. Our students also regularly advocate to political leaders to “act big, and act now” on the climate crisis.
Due to the generosity of the Kilby family, West Nottingham has established an ongoing partnership with Kilby Dairy Farm, one mile from our campus. Kilby Farm provides an additional outdoor classroom with exciting possibilities for environmental education across the curriculum. The Kilby Farm partnership also makes possible our signature food waste diversion program, which diverts all dining hall food waste to the farm’s methane digester, where it becomes clean energy to run the farm and natural compost to fertilize the fields.
To close the loop, West Nottingham purchases fresh milk and ice cream from the farm. Among other partners, West Nottingham also works with the Octoraro Watershed Association and Cecil County Department of Land Use and Development to contribute to the care of land and waters beyond our campus borders.
The Mike Cairns Environmental Sustainability Fellow supports the director of sustainability programs and curriculum by leading SEC and guiding the West Nottingham community in projects that have a positive ecological impact. Mike Cairns, for whom the fellowship is named, graduated from West Nottingham in 1980. He passed away in December 2016 from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Mike was an exceptional student and now is part of a legacy of conservation that will have an impact on the West Nottingham community and beyond.