Garden & Green School

Practicing Environmental Stewardship

LS garden

Our Gardens

Our lower and upper school gardens are an ideal place to study science, as well as poetry, art, and math. Here, students measure the volume of planter boxes and the growth of plants, charting and identifying patterns. They sit in the garden to sketch what they see, making observations that inform their writing. They learn about the differences between observations and inferences, make predictions, and test hypotheses. Our students develop a love of nature and an appreciation for the changing seasons.

creating garden - students digging
“This used to be our lunch! How is that possible that our lunch has turned into compost?”

Dirty Hands, Memorable Moments

Our students play a role in all aspects of caring for the gardens on both campuses, deepening their understanding that nature involves cycles and systems. They learn through hands-on experience, sifting the soil through their hands, planting seeds, nurturing the young sprouts with water, helping the seedlings grow and bear fruit, and later harvesting them.

Our composting system is a laboratory for understanding biodegradability and sustainability. Students [at left] witness their lunch program leftovers transforming into nutrient-rich soil.

Chicken Coop

Members of our science faculty, along with parents and students, designed from scratch(!) a chicken coop before spending several weekends building it in the upper school garden. The coop houses two Easter Eggers, a Blue Laced Red Wyandotte, and a Black Australorp. These chickens were hatched in incubators in the Q Lab, under the watchful eye of our seventh graders, as part of our science curriculum.

chicken fun fact
Fun fact: Two of BPC's chickens are known as "Easter Eggers" -- a common hybrid related to Ameraucanas and Araucanas, but not fitting the standards of either breed. These hens lay colorful eggs year-round.

Our Coop-Inspired Chicken VR

Our maker students developed a virtual chicken simulator, Chicken VR, which earned a Blue Ribbon award at the Bay Area Maker Faire. Chicken VR is available for other makers on STEAM as an open source project.  Photos >

First Graders at Chicken Coop

A Green School

Black Pine Circle School was certified as a California Green School through the Alliance to Save Energy’s Green School’s Program. This award is a reminder that our dedication to environmental issues has long been a strength of our program.

Reduction in energy expenditure since 2015

Modeling Sustainability

We are committed to reuse, composting, and recycling. We teach it and we live it through our outdoor education program, Science Fair, and our award-winning garden program.

We have developed long-standing relationships with local organizations that bring our students into the natural world, and bring experts into the classroom.