We are Green Schools!

This is a summary of the initiatives our districts have undertaken on the road to reducing our carbon footprint and becoming carbon neutral or negative in the future. We have great community and board support, and even included sustainability as one of the major themes in our Strategic Plan and adopted the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as a decision making framework!

Renewable Energy The districts make use of the following sources of renewable energy: 

• Beginning in 2021, the districts bought into a solar farm in Livermore Falls, Maine that provides us with 1 million kWh of power and meets 90% of the electricity needs of our districts

• Our new middle school, completed in 2020, uses sewer thermal heating and LP condensing boilers and heat recovery demand ventilation so that we only need to use propane on very cold days.

• In 2010 and 2015, solar arrays were installed on the main building and maintenance building at CHRHS that produce 150,000 kWh of power that are then used by CHRHS.

• CHRHS bought and installed a wind turbine capable of producing 100kW in 2012 as the culmination of a grassroots student project.

Composting The districts have composted all kitchen and cafeteria food scraps at all three schools with ScrapDogs Community Compost since 2018: 

• CRES and CRMS produce 45-50 gallons of food scraps each week

CHRHS produces 75-85 gallons of food scraps each week

• ScrapDogs creates mature compost with these scraps and returns them to the high school, where we use them in our gardens

Single Use Plastics and Recycling The districts have banned single use plastics and instituted recycling in all five campus buildings: 

• All three schools use reusable silverware and plates/trays 

• We save 185,000 milk cartons per year from going to the landfill by switching to milk dispensers in each cafeteria 

• Each school practices single stream recycling, which is then sorted by the kitchen and custodial crews

• CHRHS also has a returnables program, the proceeds of which go towards Special Olympics, Unified basketball uniforms, and Special Education field trips

• Unclaimed lost and found items at each school are donated to local consignment shops, who in turn have tabs that families in need can use to purchase clothes and gear from the shop

• The districts purchase Apple technology products in part due to their industry leading aggressive environmental strategies, and contract with third party companies to recycle the devices when they still have usable life. We recycle approximately 3100 pounds of ewaste each year.

Energy Efficiency We have made upgrades at all schools to increase energy efficiency and strive to make energy efficient decisions as we buy and build new now and in the future: 

• CRES underwent a complete outdoor and partial indoor LED retrofit

• CRMS was built with all LED lighting

• CHRHS has had a complete indoor and outdoor LED retrofit

•Underutilized step-down transformers were discovered and DDC upgrades made at CHRHS from 2015 to 2018 to create significant electrical cost savings 

• The SAD purchased an electric bus which completes an AM and PM run every day

•The SAD purchased a hybrid van for van runs 

• The facilities team uses electric John Deere gator tractors 

Instructional Programming Each school offers the following instructional programming opportunities around sustainability:

Camden Hills Regional High School:

• The Hatchery Innovation Center focuses on radical reuse, wherein discarded items from construction materials to old sports equipment find second (or third or fourth) lives as new useful items such as furniture.

• One of the available diploma endorsements is Sustainability: Cultural, Social, Economical, and Evironmental, and it involves both a service aspect and a coursework component. Available courses include AP Environmental Science, Sustainable Agriculture, and AP Human Geography. Read more about this endorsement here.

• The Maine Outdoor Experience physical education course focuses on both wilderness skills and responsible use practices, including Leave No Trace.

• The 9th grade Global Science course includes a unit on global climate models and a Sustainability Action project.

• The Windplanners Environmental Student group is very active and led the efforts to install a wind turbine at CHRHS. They are now involved in other projects, including ensuring that our funds are invested in sustainable companies.

• CHRHS has multiple outdoor classrooms, including two pavilions and outdoor lunch seating. These spaces are used for outdoor science education, reading, journaling, and meals.

• The outdoor ropes course is used in the physical education and health classes for team building and skill development, with plans to expand use for 9th grade orientation and school wide culture building.

• The gardens have recently been expanded and with help from Hatchery students now include stair access from the lower level. The gardens and the orchard both promote different learning opportunities, include organic apple cider production and a horticulture class.

MidCoast School of Technology:

• The 2 year Outdoor Leadership Program provides training and skills necessary for careers in outdoor industry, from wildland firefighter to field scientist to merchant mariner. Students earn several certifications, including registered Maine guide, advanced wilderness first aid, and swiftwater rescue.

Camden Rockport Middle School:

• Several of the Project Based Learning opportunities at CRMS utilize outdoor spaces and align with UN Sustainability Goals

• All breaks are outdoor breaks, and lunch and recess are held outside.

• The new outdoor classroom, the Riverwalk Classroom, opens Fall 2024.  

• Every student has a 1 mile permission slip so that classes can use the community as a classroom.

• Each grade level has at least one outdoor adventure-based trip, from sailing and canoeing in fifth grade to hiking in 6th grade, visiting Chewonki and Acadia in 7th grade, and attending The Leadership School at Kieve Wavus Education in 8th grade.

Camden Rockport Elementary School:

• The Nature-based PreK program spends the majority of every day outside exploring the stream, woods, and nature trail on the CRES campus and adjoining CHRHS.

• CRES has several outdoor spaces, including the main playground, preK playground, several grassy areas with sunshades, the woods areas, the stream, the nature trail, and an additional fenced outdoor area in development for our Kindergarten classes.

• The 3rd and 4th grade teaching pairs are focused on outdoor education experiences for students, especially in science, including a Numeracy in Nature workshop.

• CRES students also have several day trips based in the outdoors, including to Hurricane Island.