Being green and sustainable at Saint Stephen’s

GoGreenGo Green ….and Gold!

During the 2009/2010 school year, Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School will celebrate our  yearly theme in many forms throughout all divisions.  Be Green ….and Gold! will encourage both faculty and students to look at our earth’s fragile eco system. In our commitment to preserve our  resources and the beauty of our landscape, our new Middle School, the Sunlight Building, will be opening in January 2009.  As a LEED certified building, Falcons will be learning in this new building, as well as gain a new understanding  in our living laboratory.

Students who wish to delve deeper into this notion are encouraged to consult their school library for information about  the ecology, our environment and our place within it.

We also offer two on line databases (accessable from home as well as on cmapus) to aid  in ecological research:  Access Science,  Brain Pop and United Streaming are all valuable resources. In addtion, the Campus Center Library offers a number of ecological themed  fiction novels ( many with an accompanying AR test) for LS and IS children to enjoy.

Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School

Picture Books

The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest by Lynne Cherry

The many different animals that live in a great kapok tree in the Brazilian rain forest try to convince a man with an ax of the importance of not cutting down their home.

Ben’s Dream By Chris Van Allsburg

On a terrifically rainy day, Ben has a dream in which he and his house float by the monuments of the world, half submerged in flood water.

Curious George Plants a Tree by M. Rey

The mischievous monkey learns about protecting the environment by planting trees and recycling paper. Includes tips on conserving energy and resources.

The lorax By Dr. Seuss

The Once-ler describes the results of the local pollution problem.

The Earth and I by Frank Asch

A child explains how he and the Earth dance and sing together and take turns listening to each other.

Children of the Earth: Remember by Schim Schimmel

Out of love and concern for their planet, the animals and people of Mother Earth work together to protect the natural world.

Dear Children of the Earth: A Letter from Home by Schim Schimmel

Wartville wizard by Don Madden

An old man fights a town of litterbugs by magically sending each piece of trash back to the person who dropped it.

Farewell to shady glade by Bill Peet

When building machinery moves into their woodland home, the animal inhabitants of Shady Glade must search for a new place to live.

Where once there was a wood by Denise Fleming

Examines the many forms of wildlife that can be displaced if their environment is destroyed by development and discusses how communities and schools can provide spaces for them to live.

The dumpster dive by Janet Wong

Once a month–every week in the summer–Steve the electrician dons special gear and, with the help of youngsters who live in his building, dives into a dumpster seeking useful objects that they can transform into imaginative new ones.

Uno’s garden by Graeme Base

Uno builds a home and garden in the magnificent forest among the playful puddlebuts and feathered frinklepods, but as the place becomes more and more popular, it is overtaken by tourists and buildings until the forest and animals seem to disappear altogether.

The water hole by Graeme Base

As ever growing numbers of animals visit a watering hole, introducing the numbers from one to ten, the water dwindles.

Meadowview street by Henry Cole

Upon moving to a new house, young Caroline and her parents encourage wildflowers to grow and birds and animals to stay in their yard, which soon has the whole suburban street living up to its name.

Trouble with dragons by Debi Gliori

When dragons cut down too many trees, blow out too much hot air, and do other environmental damage, the future looks grim, but other animals advise them on how to mend their ways and save the planet.

Someday a Tree by Eve Bunting

A young girl, her parents, and their neighbors try to save an old oak tree that has been poisoned by pollution.

Winston of Churchill : one bear’s battle against global warming by J.D. Okimoto

Winston, a great white bear who hunts from the ice of Hudson Bay near the town of Churchill, Manitoba, rallies his fellow polar bears to protest the human activities that are causing the planet to warm and melting the ice of the bears’ traditional hunting grounds.

Fiction Novels

Cam Jansen and the Green School Mystery by David Adler

On Green Day, Cam and her classmates discuss ways to protect the environment, but when money collected for the school’s new skylights disappears, Cam uses her photographic memory to solve the mystery.

Wiggle and Waggle by Caroline Arnold

Two worms who are best friends have fun together as they tunnel their way through a garden. Includes facts on how worms help plants grow.

Green Boy by Susan Cooper

Twelve-year-old Trey and his seven-year-old brother Lou, who does not speak, cross the barrier between two worlds, that of their island in the Bahamas, and a land called Pangaia, and play a mysterious role in restoring the natural environment in both places.

The Prince of Butterflies by Bruce Colville

When surrounded by thousands of butterflies, eleven-year-old John becomes transformed into one of them and finds his entire life altered because of this experience.

Books of Ember (series) by Jeanne DuPrau

City of Ember/People of Sparks/Prophet of Yonwood / Diamond of Darkhold

The Tomorrow Code by Brian Falkner

Two New Zealand teenagers receive a desperate SOS from their future selves and set out on a quest to stop an impending ecological disaster that could mean the end of humanity.

Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman

One by one, a number of people of varying ages and backgrounds transform a trash-filled inner-city lot into a productive and beautiful garden, and, in doing so, the gardeners are themselves transformed.

Vampire Island by Adele Griffin

The Livingstone kids are fruit bat hybrids who have left Old World dangers and immortality behind for a “normal” life in New York City, but normal doesn’t necessarily mean easy, especially with lingering vampire traits complicating things.

Skullduggery by Pete Hautman

During a field trip in the local woods, Roni and Brian find the local archaeology professor, Andrew Dart, knocked unconscious in a cave, which leads them to investigate a land development scheme.

Kailey by Amy Goldman Koss

Ten-year-old Kailey launches an art protest to keep a developer from spoiling the cove and its tide pools that are special to her and her family and friends.

Tin Can Man by Marcia Leonard

A phonics-based story for readers in pre-kindergarten through grade one in which a girl and her father build a figure out of tin cans that wins a blue ribbon.

Judy Moody Saves the World! by Megan McDonald

When Judy Moody gets serious about protecting the environment, her little brother Stink thinks she is overdoing it, but she manages to inspire her third grade class to undertake an award-winning, environment-saving project.

Messy Bessey’s Garden by Patricia McKissack

Messy Bessey discovers that with proper care her garden will flourish.

Recycled by Jilian Powell

Miss Drew’s efforts to teach her class about recycling are very successful.

The Beasties by William Sleator

When fifteen-year-old Doug and his younger sister Colette move with their parents to a forested wilderness area, they encounter some weird creatures whose lives are endangered.

Sammy Keyes and the Wild Things by Wendelin Van Draanen

While on her first hiking and camping trip, thirteen-year-old Sammy tries to solve a mystery involving endangered condors while avoiding scorpions, ticks, and embarrassment.

Where Have the Unicorns Gone? by Jane Yolen

The unicorns flee from the noise, violence, and destruction of civilization and find refuge in the sea.

Abel’s Island By William Steig

Castaway on an uninhabited island, Abel, a very civilized mouse, finds his resourcefulness and endurance tested to the limit as he struggles to survive and return to his home.

Hoot By Carl Hiaasen

Roy, who is new to his small Florida community, becomes involved in another boy’s attempt to save a colony of burrowing owls from a proposed construction site.

Scat by Carl Hiaasen

Nick and Marta are both suspicious when their biology teacher, the feared Mrs. Bunny Starch, disappears, and try to uncover the truth despite the police and headmaster’s insistence that nothing is wrong.

Flush by Carl Hiassen

With their father jailed for sinking a river boat, Noah Underwood and his younger sister, Abbey, must gather evidence that the owner of this floating casino is emptying his bilge tanks into the protected waters around their Florida Keys home.

National Parks Mysteries series by Gloria Skurzynski

Exciting mystery-adventure stories take place in the U.S. National Parks, and introduce readers to a particular park’s history as well as its ecology.

Maxium Ride #4: Max by James Patterson

When millions of fish start dying off the coast of Hawaii and something is destroying hundreds of ships, the government enlists the Flock–a band of genetically modified children who can fly–to help get to the bottom of the disaster before it is too late.

There’s an owl in the shower by George, Jean Craighead

Laws protecting the spotted owls in the old growth forest of northern California cost Borden’s father his logging job. Angry, Borden vows to kill any spotted owl he sees, but has a change of heart when he and his father find themselves taking care of a young owlet.

My side of the mountain George, Jean Craighead

young boy relates his adventures during the year he spends living alone in the Catskill Mountains including his struggle for survival, his dependence on nature, his animal friends, and his ultimate realization that he needs human companionship.

Frightful’s Mountain. George, Jean Craighead

As she grows through the first years of her life in the Catskill Mountains of New York, a peregrine falcon called Frightful interacts with various humans, including the boy who raised her, a falconer who rescues her, and several unscrupulous poachers, as well as with many animals that are part of the area’s ecological balance.

Non-fiction Books

A cool drink of water by Kerley

Depicts people around the world collecting, chilling, and drinking water.

I love our earth by Bill Martin

Presents a introduction to nature, in simple text with photographs, celebrating the Earth’s seasons, climates, and colors.

Gone Wild By David McLimans

Presents the alphabet in capital letters designed to look like endangered animals, and lists facts on each species, covering their habitats, geographic ranges, threats to survival, and statuses.

The Dirt on Dirt by Paulette Bourgeois with Kathy Vanderlinden

Text describe where dirt comes from and its importance to nature; and includes instructions for creating a fossil footprint and growing a garden playhouse.

Brother Eagle, Sister Sky: A Message from Chief Seattle by Chief Seattle

A Suquamish Indian chief describes his people’s respect and love for the Earth, and concern over its destruction.

M is for majestic: a National Parks alphabet by David Domenicon

Examines the history and lore of America’s national parks from Acadia National Park to Zion National Park.

Let’s get ready for Earth Day by Llyod Douglas

A boy describes how his class prepares for Earth Day, by learning about the holiday from their teacher, preparing and hanging posters, and planting a tree.

Endangered Planet by David Burnie

Shows how natural habitats and cycles are threatened by human behavior and explores possible solutions.

Earth’s Water Crisis by Rob Bowden

Examines the potential for a serious global water crisis, the effects of global warming on water supplies, and ways to keep nations from going to war over water.

Earth’s Garbage Crisis by Christian Dorion

Examines the careless use of the Earth’s natural resources, efforts to encourage recycling of garbage, and ways to safely dispose of industrial waste.

Down to earth guide to global warming by Laurie David

A collection of facts and information about global warming and its consequences, with suggestions on maintaining a healthy environment in the home, at school, and in the community.

Recycle by Gail Gibbons

Explains the process of recycling from start to finish and discusses what happens to paper, glass, aluminum cans, and plastic when they are recycled into new products.

Oil Spill by Melvin Berger

Explains why oil spills occur and how they are cleaned up and suggests strategies for preventing them in the future.

Why should I recycle by Jen Green

Mr. Jones takes his students on a visit to a recycling center, and teaches them some of the many ways in which they can recycle and reuse.

The future of the earth: an introduction to sustainable development for young readers

by Philippe J. Dubois

Discusses the diversity, richness, and complexity of sustainable development issues around the world.


Rachel Carson: pioneer of ecology by Kathleen Kudlindki

A biography of the ecologist and writer most noted for her book “Silent Spring” concerning the dangers of pesticides and their uses.

Rachel: The story of Rachel Carson by Amy Ehrlich

A biography of Rachel Carson, author of “Silent spring,” which sparked the beginnings of the modern environmental movement.

Poetry Books

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

A young boy grows to manhood and old age experiencing the love and generosity of a tree which gives to him without thought of return.

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Sustainability in Libraries

msbuidlingearth day going vertical 089The opening of our new green Middle School building  will occur in January 2010.  In preparation for the coming 2009-2010 school year, I have found myself researching  issues relating to sustainability and libraries.  What are schools, and in particular librarians,  doing to make our environment a healthier one?

Claiming to ‘be green’ seems to be a very fashionable trend at the moment. Yet what does this mean exactly? A recent general search pulled up articles relating to  global warming, overpopulation,  the disappearance of many of America’s pollinating bee colonies,  building sustainable homes and maintaining  sustainable lifestyles.  All are concluded as a good way to save money and save resources. Currently, It is a very dynamic trend.

What are libraries  and library administrators  doing to further this trend?  Sustainable library building design often surfaces;  education  and advocacy as well.  The American Library Association has addressed this need by hosting the International Sustainable Library Development Interest Group.  American Library Association members  are raising awareness of and making significant contributions to international library development. Librarians in developing countries can tap into resources for training and projects in their libraries.

The annual American Libraries periodical (usually the June issue) celebrates  newly built libraries in America to serve current population’s needs,  many of which are LEED designated.

Green construction practices generally fall into one of five categories:

  • Sustainable Sites
  • Water Efficiency
  • Energy and Atmosphere
  • Materials
  • Indoor Environmental Quality

For more information about national standards for sustainable building practices, check out LEEDthe Green Building Rating System, hosted by the U.S. Green Building Council. Thus one  of the more prominent ways to ‘be green’ is to build a building which means these  standards.  Some recent American library construction projects highlight thee standards.

The Minneapolis Public Library was built to meet the Minnesota Sustainable Design Guidelines, and included R-123 chillers, underfloor displacementmineapolispublibventilation, demand-based ventilation and a green roof with storm water cistern system. It is projected that a minimum of 80%  of the original structure will be recycled during construction.  The new library building will also be home to a Sustainable Resources Center.

In Seattle Washington,  the main downtown branch of the  Seattle’s Central Public Library was also recently reconstructed  with a  sustainability design.. “Over 75% of the previous building’s seattlepub libmaterials were recyceld, improve energy efficiency by 10% above Seattle energy code requirements, and used locally produced building materials when feasible. Special attention was paid to the air quality inside the building through installation of low-emission carpeting. The library also conducted a two-week re-ventilation process to get rid of all construction dust and chemical residue in the air prior to opening the new building.”

Locally, Sarasota County Public Library has  build green as well.  The North Sarasota Branch is one of the first LEED libraries in  the state of Florida.  Some of the many features of this building include  the building’s position on the site to  maximize sunlight, as well as window location to minimise interior heat.  Overhanging roof eaves assist with this cooling. By using  native plants to landscape, the library is reducing its need for water.  Charging stations for electric cars  are  offerd in the parking area.   Staff room showers and bicycle racks  encourage staff members to bicycle to work instead of relying on  fossil fuel burning cars.

The Sarasota County Library collection, according to  Director Sarabeth Kalajian,  is playing  a part in being green.  While the general lending collection  does included ‘green’ lifestyle  enhancing materials,  the second floor of the  Selby branch  houses an environmental collection.  The generous donation from a private citizen  promotes  the public’s education of  environmental issues,  by enhancing the Sarasota County’s Sustainability Program.

How are Saint Stephen’s libraries marching along with the ecological sustainability movement?   Like many work places and schools, we recycle printer paper,  we educate our students to use only what they need.  School wide, we are reducing the number of mail outs and newsletters sent home, in favor of posting the information on our website.  It goes without saying that the construction of the Sunlight Building,  our new LEED Middle School building (set to open in January 2010) is raising awareness campus wide  about sustainability issues.  The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria.   We are  educating our students with environmental issues within the context of our daily lessons. We are rethinking how we do many of our daily activities in a manner which impacts our world.msbuidlingms 08_14_09 005

Within the Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School – Campus Center Library, something we have been doing for many years now, is to hold used book sales.  While  there is a small revenue generated for  the library budget,  ultimately, we are recycling previously read books for others to enjoy.(oh yes, by the way, we are promoting literacy as well).  Our annual  teacher discard party recycles  unwanted library discarded books into classrooms.  We try to reduce power by turning off lights when not in use ( in particularly the bathroom lights) as well as  taking fewer  paper towels from the dispenser.  We offer environmental materials in our lending collection  to our students. All are small steps, though the effect on the great whole is immeasurable.  We all have a small part to play in sustaining our environment.

Let’s make everyday Earth Day by rethinking what we do.greenglobe

Staci  Elliot’s article “Sustainability and Libraries”

Thank you to Sarabeth for a lovely lunchtime chat.

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Eco card launched at SFPL

Going green happens in small steps. It happens our homes in our work places and in our communities by making little changes to  our everyday activities. The smallest of actions will have the greatest impact in changing our  way of thinking.

San Franciso  has once again managed  to change people’s way of thinking about the environment by being the first public library in the country to  issue ‘eco-cards’.  The San Francisco Public Library(of which Mrs. Potwin has toured in 2001, and has a poster of in her office) is taking its eco-friendly credentials a step further with a new environmentally conscious library card. The new ecocard is made from corn. Not only is corn a sustainable and renewable resource as opposed to traditional petroleum-based plastics, but it can also be composted in the City’s composting system.The San Francisco Public Library’s pilot program is  demonstrating that real alternatives to the use of plastic exist.

Products made from renewable resources are the wave of the future. Of course, we encourage SF residents to reuse their library cards, but once these eocards cards can no longer be used, people can return them to the earth by putting them in the City’s green compostables cart,” said Jack Macy, Commercial Zero Waste Coordinator at SF Environment.

The Library, in partnership with SF Environment and Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, has initiated a “green stacks” program to promote sustainable and renewable efforts at the Library and around the City. The library ‘s citywide program highlights the environmental initiatives, programs, exhibitions and information created and supported by today’s library system. Find out more at

Finally, it is noteworthy to mention that while the card is compostable, the San Francisco Public Library (as libraries everywhere) urge you to use your library frequently.  Eco cards are meant to be used to access the library collection, and not to be instantly  dispose of in your compost bin.