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Sustainability Education in Vermont. Shelburne Farms’ Sustainable Schools Project. Vermont and Sustainability. Sustainability is a long-time tradition in Vermont

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Sustainability education in vermont

Sustainability Education in Vermont

Shelburne Farms’ Sustainable Schools Project

Vermont and sustainability
Vermont and Sustainability

  • Sustainability is a long-time tradition in Vermont

  • Many organizations work towards “improving the quality of life” for Vermonters including municipal government, NGOs, schools, business sector, higher education, etc.

Standards revision
Standards Revision

In 1998, Vermont’s State-Wide Environmental

Education Programs (SWEEP) secured funding

from the Josephine Bay Paul and C. Michael Paul Foundation

to convene the Cultivating New Partnerships Project

(CNP). The mission of CNP was to explore education for

sustainability as a rallying point for these diverse programs

and help forge a consensus on overall goals and priorities.

  • Initiated a public discussion process

  • Statewide focus groups were held

  • Themes were generated

  • Standards for Sustainability and Understanding Place were written, revised, and accepted in 2000.

Sustainability standard in vermont
Sustainability Standard in Vermont

3.9 Students make decisions that demonstrate understanding of natural and human communities, the ecological, economic, political, or social systems within them, and awareness of how their personal and collective actions affect the sustainability of these interrelated systems

Understanding place standard in vermont
Understanding Place Standard in Vermont

4.6 Students demonstrate understanding of the relationship between their local environment and community heritage and how each shapes their lives

Natural resources and agriculture
Natural Resources and Agriculture

  • 7.16 Students demonstrate an understanding of natural resources and agricultural systems and why and how they are managed.

  • This standard was accepted by the State DOE in October of 2005

  • Evidence for standards can be found on the Vermont State DOE website

Working in partnership
Working in Partnership

  • To achieve results in all sectors we understand the importance of collaborating with community partners to ensure staying power of programs

  • To promote understanding across all sectors

  • To enhance professional development and teacher internship opportunities

  • To enhance what we are doing in Vermont by learning what others are doing nationally and abroad (Japan, LEAF)

Scope of sustainability education
Scope of Sustainability Education

  • Content areas addressed include social studies, science, math, literacy and health/PE

  • K-16

  • Vermont State Standards and Grade Level Expectations

  • With individual teachers and entire school districts, including children and their families

Green schools
“Green” Schools

  • Environmentally Preferable Purchasing

  • Vermont High Performance Schools Initiative

  • No Idling Campaign

  • Solar on Schools

  • School composting

  • Association of Vermont Recyclers

  • 10% Challenge

  • Solid Waste Districts

  • Vermont Energy Education Project


  • Crowded curriculum

  • Lack of professional development time for teachers and staff

  • Resource dollars

  • Word “sustainability” can be a stumbling block


  • Support from community – Burlington passed a resolution to support EFS and SSP

  • Support from DOE at Standards level

  • Support from teachers, staff, parents

  • Farm to School Bill

  • Collaborative efforts that build community capacity

Sustainable schools project
Sustainable Schools Project

  • A three year professional development model that uses the concept of sustainability as an integrative lens to support:

    curriculum development

    campus ecology/practices improvement

    community partnerships


Evaluating our impact
Evaluating our Impact

  • SSP is part of a rigorous evaluation collaborative called Place-based Education Evaluation Collaborative.

  • All tools and reports are found at

Burlington school food project and vt feed food education every day
Burlington School Food Project and VT FEED (Food Education Every Day)

Food as a vehicle for understanding Sustainability:

Supporting Cafeteria improvements

Supporting Connections to the Cafeteria

Supporting Connections to the Community

University of vermont
University of Vermont Every Day)

  • For operations:1) green building policy that aims for LEEDTM Silver for all new buildings and major renovations Commitment in the Campus Master Plan to creating a pedestrian campus served by convenient public transportation and other commuter alternatives. Students, faculty and staff can ride local buses for free with an ID. 3) The Energy Management office?s projects with local utilities are estimated to have avoided 2,924,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) and 2.2 billion British thermal units (BTUs), totalling $2,460,000 in electric savings and $1,997,000 in natural gas savings between 2000-2005. 4) The Environmental Council and Environmental Coordinator have been helping to connect staff and students to green the campus for 10 years, encouraging best practices in every aspect of campus operations, from grounds to utilities to transportation to procurement, and supporting demonstration projects such as solar panels, a wind turbine, and use of biodiesel.

Uvm continued
UVM continued Every Day)

  • UVM has numerous courses relating to Sustainability in a variety of colleges and schools quite a few ENVS students and RSENR (Natural Resource) integrated natural resource majors design their self-designed major around Sustainability, as do some of the Master's students in RSENR.  

  • There has been considerable discussion given to an ecoliteracy/environmental literacy requirement for all students (not a single course or experience, but students would choose from extensive lists, just as they will for the 6-credit race and culture requirement that all students will have starting this year)

For more information
For more information Every Day)