Our commitment to sustainability is driven by school-wide programs, administered through Sustainability at PTS and in partnership with the students, teachers, and staff. We are working to create replicable models for how schools can engage their entire community around implementing innovative and economically-viable solutions that build a healthier, more sustainable campus. Here are some recent examples:
Bike to School
A generation ago, kids biked to school to a much greater extent than today. At the same time, obesity rates among our nation’s youth has skyrocketed. At Palmer Trinity School, we believe biking to school is a great way to get kids into a healthy lifestyle that will hopefully stay with them into adulthood. To encourage students to bike to school, we installed bike racks and a service station on campus.
- Rolling Bike Rack: The graceful design and high security of the Rolling Rack has made this type of bike rack a standard for many schools and communities. This rack uses thick pipe construction and allows for one of the wheels and frame to be secured using a u-style bike lock.
- Fixit Service Station: The Fixit includes all the tools necessary to perform basic repairs and maintenance, from changing a flat to adjusting brakes and derailleurs. The tools and air pump are securely attached to the stand with stainless steel cables and tamper-proof fasteners. Hanging the bike from the hanger arms allows the pedals and wheels to spin freely while making adjustments.
Bottle-less Water Purification Systems
Palmer Trinity School is committed to minimizing plastic waste. We use bottle-less water purification systems to meet our water consumption needs. These systems provide a healthier, more sustainable, and safer alternative to traditional bottled water. Bottle-less water purification systems eliminate the waste and environmental degradation associated with the transport, delivery and disposal of plastic water bottles.
In the Butterfly Garden visitors learn about plants which attract butterflies, how to improve butterfly populations, and general conservation practices. By planting a variety of host plants, Palmer Trinity School provides nectar-rich sources for butterflies and food for their caterpillars while the community enjoys watching them grow and transform into adult butterflies. The Butterfly Garden furnishes a wonderful learning environment for our students.
Carbon Footprint Reduction Commitment
In 2009, Palmer Trinity School joined the Green Schools Alliance (GSA), an alliance of K to12 public, private and independent schools united to take action on climate change and the environment. The school is committed to reducing its carbon footprint over time, including growth.
Palmer Trinity School is dedicated to increasing sustainability efforts on campus and in the community. Students organize various earth-friendly service projects including beach clean-up, mangrove planting, dune restoration, and pine rockland workday to name just a few of the opportunities/projects offered at the school.
The Coral Lab is a center for education, training, and research in marine biology. An essential part of the lab’s mission is to provide students with hands-on experience by conducting research both in the laboratory and out in the field. Teachers and students form partnerships to study the diverse and abundant marine organisms found in the ocean and solve complex environmental problems. Students take responsibility for their own learning and growth as they create their own curriculum.
Dream in Green
In 2012, Palmer Trinity School joined Dream in Green by participating in the Green Schools Challenge. The mission of Dream in Green is to: 1) develop and implement environmental educational programs that promote energy and water conservation and efficiency, environmental sustainability and the use of renewable energy; and 2) raise awareness and deepen understanding of environmental and energy issues confronting local and global communities. To learn more about Dream in Green click here.
The Fairchild Challenge, sponsored by Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, is a multidisciplinary, environmental education outreach program designed to give school students an opportunity to learn about their environment and respond to what they have learned creatively through friendly competition. The challenge fosters interest in the environment by encouraging students to appreciate the beauty and value of nature and become actively engaged citizens. For more information about the Fairchild Challenge click here.
Palmer Trinity School offers preferred parking for fuel-efficient vehicles in special designated spaces (labeled FEV: Fuel Efficiency Vehicle) throughout the campus. In order to park in these spaces the combined city/highway mpg of the vehicle must be 30 mpg or higher. This program raises awareness and highlights our eco-conscious community members by rewarding their contribution to lessen our footprint.
Our school cafeteria not only offers appealing and nutritious food, it also offers ways to cut food waste through recycling and a tray-less initiative. The cafeteria’s commitment to sustainability begins with its choice of vendors, selection of products and design of the dining program. Menus change seasonally to reflect the fresh product available in the local market and to promote organic products. Lunch features house-made salads and salad dressings, made from scratch daily. The cafeteria uses cage-free and Certified Humane eggs and dolphin-safe tuna packed in water.
Palmer Trinity School continues to lead the way to responsible energy efficiency and conservation on campus replacing fluorescent lights with LED lights. LED, short for light-emitting diode, is a high-efficiency, low-cost light source that can run at lower temperatures to consume less energy than fluorescent lighting units. LED lighting is also known for its longevity.While improving lighting in the classroom, the LED system uses a fraction of the energy from the previous fluorescent light bulbs fixtures. When we replace an old system in a single classroom, which uses 2.20 kW of energy, with a new, high-efficiency system that reduces energy consumption by 70 percent. The new installation uses a total of 0.60 kW at full capacity. The annual energy savings is estimated at $350 and combined with dimming, lower air conditioning costs, and reduced maintenance costs the total savings is higher.
The Living Garden takes students outside their classrooms for hands-on opportunities to learn about growing local and organic food, some of which is served at the school’s salad bar or used for cooking in class. Students grow herbs, spices, salad greens, fruits, and vegetables. Teachers utilize the Living Garden for educational programs as students learn about the ecological importance of plants, our relationship to food, and comprehend the deeper meaning of “we are what we eat.”
Palmer Trinity School emphasizes the selection of plants and shrubs that grow naturally in South Florida. Native plants are well adapted to our area and therefore require less water, little or no fertilizers or pesticides, and are extremely low maintenance. Native plants also restore natural systems and attract native insects, birds, and wildlife.
A 20 kilowatt photovoltaic system (solar panel array) converts the sun’s energy directly into electricity for the school’s concession stand and the main library. Students can view in real time the production of the solar panels online and analyze how production is affected by weather conditions. The photovoltaic system produces significant energy and greenhouse gas emission savings as well as providing an extraordinary learning tool for the community.
The Reclamation Project, by Xavier Cortada, is a local eco-art project designed to educate South Floridians about the importance of mangrove forests in the protection of our coastlines from hurricanes, as a home for birds and wild animals, as a cleaning mechanism for our coastal waters, and as a means of fighting global warming. Each year, student volunteers collect hundreds of mangrove propagules from the coastal areas. The propagules are then artistically exhibited in water-filled cups at the school where they are nurtured into seedlings during the school year and eventually planted to create new habitats. For more information about the Reclamation Project click here.
Palmer Trinity School uses single-stream recycling, a system in which all recyclable materials and containers are placed, unsorted, in one recycling bin and sorted by processing equipment at a regional recycling center. The goals of the recycling program at school are to improve recycling rates, reduce waste, encourage good habits, and raise awareness about consumption patterns. As a result of the recycling program recyclables are diverted from the waste stream and natural resources avoid the landfill.
Every year, students at Palmer Trinity School celebrate a healthier, more sustainable campus lifestyle at our annual Sustainability Fair. Students display research projects in the school gym pertaining to a variety of topics including renewable energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, carbon footprint of everyday items, and chemicals that changed the world.
Students at Palmer Trinity School have enormous power to institute change in their classrooms and campus community. Every year, the students take the Sustainability Pledge and learn how to reduce their environmental impact. The Sustainability Pledge is a good way to remind ourselves to develop good eco-friendly habits.
Waterless urinals and water efficient faucets are utilized in the majority of restrooms and classrooms on campus. Waterless urinals work completely without water or flush valves. The system is touch-free, improves restroom sanitation, and eliminates odors. A waterless urinal saves on average 20,000 to 45,000 gallons of water a year. Water conservation decreases the burden on municipal water and wastewater treatment.
Water Bottle Filling Stations
Around campus, the old style water fountains – requiring users to bend over, press a button and slurp – are quickly being replaced by new EZH2OTM bottle filling stations The new, sensor-activated bottle filling stations fill two to three times faster than traditional drinking fountains and help to minimize plastic bottle waste in the environment. The design of the stations allows users to insert any water bottle and receive a stream of cold water. Thanks to an electronic sensor, the new systems provide touch-free sanitary operation, reducing the spread of germs. The objective of this initiative is to educate students about conservation and decrease disposable water bottle use. The EZH2OTM bottle filling stations have what’s called a Green TickerTM – an innovative counter that indicates how many bottles have been filled. Students enjoy showing how green they are by tracking how many plastic bottles they have helped keep out of the landfills.