Saddle Rock School recently welcomed representatives from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) as part of the school’s year-long commitment to educate and empower students to protect, restore, and promote sustainable ecosystems.
In late January, representatives from the DEC led a series of grade-level workshops at Saddle Rock that focused on water, local beach environments, animals, and insects. These presentations tied into the curriculum for each grade level and offered hands-on activities to help students better understand our planet’s delicate ecosystem.
The school’s year-long focus on the environment is inspired by the United Nation’s Global Goals for Sustainable Development. In 2015, world leaders agreed to 17 goals for a better world by 2030. The purpose of the Global Goals is to encourage governments, businesses, and the public to work together “to end poverty, fight inequality, and stop climate change.” Each of the 17 Global Goals supports this mission by focusing on one area of improvement, such as ending hunger, supporting quality education, promoting good health, and improving the environment.
Earlier this school year, Saddle Rock’s Shared Decision Making Team canvassed students and staff to determine which Global Goal the school should focus on for the 2018–19 school year. Of the 17 Global Goals, the Shared Decision Making Team identified eight goals that most closely aligned with the school’s curriculum and presented those goals to students and staff in a survey; the Global Goal titled “Life on Land” received the most votes.
The Life on Land goal encourages “sustainable use of our ecosystem and preserving biodiversity.” Saddle Rock students are learning how responsible decisions—such as planting trees, conserving water, and protecting species—will help preserve the Earth for generations to come.
Students and staff are supporting the Life on Land goal through a variety of service learning activities throughout this school year. These activities are designed to educate students, enhance the local school environment, and benefit the greater community. In addition to the presentations by the DEC, students are partnering with the Great Neck Historical Society to expand community awareness about the Saddle Rock Grist Mill, and contributing to a school-wide project that will culminate in an Earth Day celebration.