Sustainability Project

Because all creatures are connected, each must be cherished with love and respect, for all of us as living creatures are dependent on one another. Each area is responsible for the care of this family.”
– Pope Francis, ‘Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home’

Goal

It is our goal as science educators to teach our students how our mission ties into environmental stewardship and increase student involvement in developing biodiversity on the Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy campus.
 
We are called to…

Be stewards of God’s creation as Christian People

Take care of the earth and all its inhabitants as Upright Citizens

Provide opportunities for students to put their learning into action as Academic Scholars

Priorities

Current Initiatives

Melissa Kozyra Greenhouse and Botany Learning Lab

This state-of-the-art facility:

  • Features NFT (Nutrient Film Technique) hydroponics system and a Bato Bucket hydroponics system to grow various fruits (tomatoes), leafy greens (lettuce) and select flowers.
  • Integrates student learning from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade.
  • Lower and middle school students visit the greenhouse up to three times a year for projects related to science, social studies, life skills, math and religion.
  • The lower school Environmental Club utilizes the greenhouse for projects to help further the development of their gardens and transform them into a sanctuary for our native pollinators and plants. 
  • High school students manage the greenhouse and can take elective science courses such as Botany and Horticulture starting in 10th grade.
  • Produce and plants donated to various organizations within the Oakland County area such as Micah6/Sprout (Pontiac), and Oakland Hills Community Garden.
Living Beehives

Not many people our age have the opportunity to learn about bees this way. It is important to study bees and their habitats because they have such a large impact on the environment. Without them, many plants would not be pollinated, so studying them is of great importance for our planet."
– Keely McLeod, NDP student

Bees are a keystone species that have an inordinate impact on the ecosystem they belong to.  As pollinators, they provide a crucial service to the plant reproductive cycle. Plant reproduction and success supports the food web of our ecosystem. While other pollinators exist in nature, honeybees in particular are voracious in their appetite for nectar and far surpass other pollinators in their ability to to perform this service.

Colony collapse is a major issue that impacts so many different facets of life. We are very excited to play even a small role in combating this issue. Getting our students passionate and excited about these issues is key because ultimately they will be the ones working toward solving these types of problems. The bee program also offers a window into animal behavior.

Initiative Highlights:

  • Four active honey beehives on school grounds installed and maintained in 2019.
  • High school Biology students engage in hands-on learning to study the lifecycle of bees, including their relationship with agriculture, their role as pollinators, their feeding preferences, their behaviors, and more.
  • Bee Club at the middle and high school takes on the responsibility of taking care of the bees by doing routine hive checks, mite treatments, honey harvesting, and seasonal hive maintenance. During the winter months, students continue their bee education, promote honey sales, and create products such as beeswax lip balm to sell to fellow students, faculty and staff.