Pennington's School-wide Community Day took place on Monday, April 29, and had sustainability as its theme. A presentation from National Geographic explorer and filmmaker Alizé Carrère kicked off the day. She spoke to the Pennington community about how human beings can adapt to climate change with new and innovative solutions. She shared her experience from her global travels, including research in Madagascar.
Carrère was awarded a Young Explorer Grant from the National Geographic Society to study Madagascar's large erosion gullies, called "lavakas," resulting from the massive deforestation in the country. Through extensive research and interviews, she learned that these gullies had become self-replenishing fertile ecosystems. The farmers are able not only to plant crops in these large lavakas, but also to capitalize on their produce without much work or maintenance. Since then, Carrère has compiled case studies from around the world showing how humans are adapting to climate change.
After Carrère's presentation, the students, faculty, and staff rotated through three group activities with different themes: community, sustainability, and economy. To build a stronger sense of community, advisory groups raced through a Pennington scavenger hunt to learn more about the School and its employees. Students and adults also participated in a carbon footprint walk, where they were directed to step forward or backward based on their everyday actions like driving to school, blasting the heat/air conditioning, recycling, or buying in excess. The third activity had students and faculty split into family groups to discuss connections between sustainability and the economy, focusing on what they buy, and the impact it makes in the environment.
After the activities, all students and employees returned to Sparks Gymnasium for a closing meeting. The School community sat in a large circle and expressed their thoughts, ideas, and conclusions on what they had learned so far during Community Day.
After lunch, students and faculty worked hard performing community service activities on and off campus, including learning CPR, cleaning up nearby parks, and assisting at HomeFront. The community ventured to local organizations such as the Eastern Service Workers Association, Unicorn Therapeutic Riding, and Painted Oak Nature School.
Between the beautiful weather and the fun, unique, and educational activities, students reported that they loved learning about sustainability, building community, and helping others.
Check out some pictures of the day below.