Healthy Living Benefits Students and the Environment

SCH Receives a Bronze Award from Eco-Schools USA

Springside Chestnut Hill Academy (SCH) was recently named a bronze-level Eco-School by the National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-Schools USA program which promotes environmental education, conserving natural resources and “greening” physical structures and grounds. With this award, SCH was recognized for its “healthy living” commitment to getting students outdoors and encouraging physical activity — factors that enhance students’ emotional well-being.

LivingSCH received this honor thanks in large part to Betty Ann Fish, SCH’s Chair of the Physical Education Department and a nationally recognized PE teacher. Fish led the Eco Schools “Healthy Living” initiative with the help of the school’s Green Task Force, sustainability consultants Mary Ann Boyer and Anne Sudduth, and the school community.

In her role at SCH, Fish teaches students lifelong habits about eating healthy food and being physically active. Therefore, it was no surprise that the “healthy living” initiative resonated with her. Fish first surveyed teachers and students on time spent outside and physically active. After encouragement from Fish and her team, SCH made a conscious effort to get more classes and nontraditional classes outside. Fish hopes this will extend beyond school and at home students will value being outside.

“How you live affects your energy use, how much waste you produce and water you use.” – Betty Ann Fish

Studies show time spent outdoors helps children grow lean and strong, enhances imaginations and attention spans, decreases aggression, and boosts classroom performance. Children who spend time in nature become better stewards of the environment.

SCH is proud of its green footprint. Recently, the school eliminated its single-use plastic water bottles, and the school’s cafeterias received a 3-star rating as a “Certified Green Restaurant” through the Green Restaurant Association. Past sustainability efforts also include storm-water management, a zero waste cafeteria initiative, a .5-acre solar panel installation, a LEED certified science building and stewardship of the Wissahickon Watershed.

To help further students’ healthy living, students are encouraged to get outside during their free time as well. One fun way to get outdoors is by camping in a local park or even right in your own backyard. Consider participating in the National Wildlife Federation’s Great American Campout this Labor Day weekend.

Pledge to Camp

About the Author: Allison Berman, a rising junior at Bates College and intern at Boyer Sudduth Environmental Consultants

Published: September 1, 2016