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July 15, 2022

For information on enrollment and registration at Notre Dame, an independent, Catholic, International Baccalaureate school, please visit the admissions section of our website here.

Notre Dame Prep's Sustainability Project is in capable hands as students — as Christian people and upright citizens — endeavor to "take care of the earth and all inhabitants."

Notre Dame Prep's bee colony, or apiary, which was established in May of 2019, is maintained by school's student-run Bee Club.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. To pursue sustainability is to create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony to support present and future generations.

The Notre Dame Prep sustainability initiative, called "The Sustainability Project," teaches students how the school mission ties into that same environmental stewardship as it also increases student involvement in developing biodiversity on the campus.

Tommy Fletcher, a rising senior at Notre Dame, was vice president of the NDP Bee Club during his junior year. While acknowledging the important role bees play in the overall health of this planet, he knows there is much more involved with environmental sustainability.

"I realize that the bees are just a small part of the whole, but once I became a part of the bee project here at NDP, I could more clearly see the bigger environmental picture and the large role sustainability plays in keeping our planet healthy," he said.

In a photo taken last school year, Notre Dame Prep's Violet Dedivanaj, Ella Spender, Khalila Simon, Alex Spevetz, Max Thornton, Frances Mathes and Tommy Fletcher were active in the Bee Club and Sustainability Project.

The EPA says that the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 committed the United States to sustainability, declaring it a national policy “to create and maintain conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations.” 

In the years since NEPA was enacted, the public’s interest in sustainability has broadened. According to the National Research Council, there are many additional drivers for sustainability. In the areas where the U.S. has seen considerable progress in sustainability, a common driver for sustainability efforts is citizens and other stakeholders concern. 

In addition, sustainability practitioners are becoming more ambitious in their sustainability efforts and are working together to share best practices to ensure the greatest environmental, economic and social impact. 

For Fletcher, he and the rest of the Bee Club's "sustainability practitioners" are using their time in the school's apiary in a couple of important ways.

"We maintain and harvest the multiple hives on campus," he said. "Our mission is to keep the bees healthy so they can produce the delicious honey we sell to help fund our activity, but we also promote the importance of a sustainable environment so the bees can thrive." 

According to Sue McGinnis, who teaches science in the upper school and manages the Melissa Kozyra Greenhouse and Botany Learning Lab along with overseeing the apiary, the goal for her and her fellow science educators is to teach students how the school mission is directly related to protecting the environment.

She points to the three main tenets of the school mission and how they can be tied directly to the environment and its sustainability:

NDPMA Sustainability Project Goals

  • Be stewards of God’s creation as Christian people

  • Take care of the earth and all inhabitants as upright citizens

  • Provide opportunities for students to put their learning into action as academic scholars

Fletcher says that he hopes his academic work and interest in NDP's Bee Club will translate into more such work at the college level and beyond.

"I will begin applying to schools this fall and hope to join or begin a bee club at the university I choose," he said. "I am interested in the chemistry and math fields, but thanks to my experience at Notre Dame Prep, I could also see myself finding a way to include environmental engineering into the mix."

For information on enrollment and registration at Notre Dame, an independent, Catholic, International Baccalaureate school, please visit the admissions section of our website here.

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About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. Notre Dame Preparatory School enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower schools enroll students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight. All three schools are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the National Association of Independent Schools. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school’s home page at