Nueva’s environmental citizenship program helps students develop an empathetic bias toward action that is based on an understanding of the interconnected web of natural and human-made systems to which we all belong. It is a pillar of Nueva's learning approach and draws on the sciences, humanities, and arts to understand complex environmental challenges and develop students’ mindsets as empathetic, innovative, and resilient solutionaries.

Environmental
Citizenship

FPO

Nueva’s commitment to environmental citizenship brings together the concepts of advocacy, compassion, and empowerment as we strive to take care of ourselves, others, and the world in which we live.

Environmental and outdoor education are foundational aspects of Nueva’s curriculum. The environmental citizenship program, launched in 2019, builds on this tradition while allowing the school to advance its embrace of environmental awareness in its operations and in partnerships with other key educational programs and values, including design thinking, equity & social justice, global citizenship, and social emotional learning. 

Students engage in environmental citizenship across divisions and throughout the curriculum. The environmental citizenship program equips students with robust knowledge, experiences, and mindsets that enable them to be proactive, empathetic and resilient citizens well-versed in systems thinking and problem solving.

 

The immersion in environmental citizenship at Nueva begins in pre-kindergarten, and students build on their skills throughout their years in the Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools. Through a stage-appropriate curriculum that includes outdoor play and exploration, investigations in disciplines such as ecology, marine biology, and earth sciences; design thinking projects and study trips focused on environmental topics; and independent studies, the environmental citizenship program pursues the following overarching transfer goals:

  • A Mindset of Environmental Citizenship
  • Proclivity Towards Nature
     
  • Knowledge and Use of Systems Thinking
  • Ability to Design and Evaluate Solutions
     

The Environmental Center

We are in the final stages of constructing a PreK–12 environmental center on the Hillsborough campus. This indoor-outdoor learning facility will serve as a think tank, where students will practice sustainability, conduct environmental and social studies, and debate solutions to a broad range of environmental challenges.

Click on the video below to hear more about the new environmental center.


Environmental Citizenship Enduring Understandings

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Through our program, students learn to balance a sense of urgency with a sense of optimism to positively engage with environmental challenges through innovation, advocacy, and making responsible decisions. They grow to be comfortable in nature and see it as a source of wonder, inspiration, community and personal growth, while also taking responsibility for the environmental impacts of their own behaviors. Furthermore, the language and approaches of systems thinking enables Nueva students to generate insight about complex human-environment interactions.

Students also apply design thinking as well as practices rooted in diversity, equity and inclusion to change-making in order to develop and participate in effective acts of environmental care/stewardship.

Examples of student opportunities to learn about and address issues from the local to the global and across all disciplines include reducing plastics waste in kindergarten, the Sustainable Living Project in sixth grade, the Silk Road and Global Systems investigations in seventh and eighth grade, and numerous elective courses in the Upper School.
 

IN THIS SECTION

Tanja Srebotnjak
Director of Environmental Citizenship

Aron Walker
Assistant Director of Environmental Citizenship

Lee Fertig

Head of School

"It is important to empower students to nurture the place in which they live and learn: their local neighborhood, regional environment, and global ecosystem. With increased awareness of devastating climate change and acknowledgement of the unsustainability of certain patterns within the human condition, environmental citizenship and the development of this mindset in schools are now core necessities in the educational process."

Environmental Citizenship News

​​​​​​​Environmental Citizenship during COVID-19 

For environmental educators, the pandemic creates a unique opportunity to engage with students in real time and on multiple fronts. Teachers can bring their disciplinary lens to examining the environmental effects of the pandemic with questions such as “What are the changes, where do they occur, and how do we measure them?”

Fireside Chats Ignite Interesting Discussions

In the midst of the COVID-19 “new normal,” the popular Fireside Chat series has sparked many engaging discussions. Hillary Freeman, Jennifer Paull, Tanja Srebotnjak, Alegria Barclay, and Aron Walker took the lead a few months ago to provide the Nueva community with a relaxed forum to discuss some timely topics

Remote Learning Roundtable: The World Post Covid-19

In honor of Earth Day 2020, Alegria Barclay, Aron Walker, Patrick Berger, and Tanja Srebotnjak organized a roundtable: “The World Post Covid-19: Opportunities for Social Justice and Environmental Resilience.”