Long before an environmental conscience was something most people cared about, Burroughs’ founders named the new school for a poet naturalist who lived in a wilderness cabin. In so doing, they imbued a reverence for nature into the very fabric of Burroughs. That core value, preserved through the decades, permeates a Burroughs education—from what students experience in their classes and at Drey Land (our 44-acre wilderness camp) to how the Plant Operations Department maintains the grounds to how architects design new buildings.Sustainability at Burroughs means many things. It can be about the physical changes we make to our campus to reduce energy and resource consumption, and it can be about the ways we seek to change mindsets among members of the school community about the way we live our lives.
Our newest buildings are LEED-certified, and the solar panels on the roofs of the STAR building and the field house generate a portion of the school’s electricity needs. A geothermal system reduces the heating and cooling needs for Industrial Technology & Engineering. We compost all food and waste materials from our kitchen and dining room. We recycle the majority of the materials we consume on campus and are working toward zero waste. Our physical plant vehicles use bio-diesel fuel produced from our kitchen.
All students in 7th grade begin their Burroughs experience together building teamwork at our wilderness camp in the Ozarks, Drey Land. They return to Drey Land as 9th-grade biology students for a multi-day science and ecology immersion program. The gardening class learns how to plant and grow vegetables for the school’s kitchen. All 10th-grade students participate in an annual seminar to learn about what it means to be a global citizen on a smaller, more crowded planet with finite resources. Finally, sustainability-related topics permeate our 7th–12th-grade curriculum, beginning with 7th-grade earth science and culminating with an AP environmental science elective.