Rockford Christian School Environmental Program

RCS’ environmental program like no other

March 4, 2010 // 0 Comments

by M. SOLLE The Rockford Christian School (RCS) campus sits on over 36 acres and overlooks beautiful Lake Bella Vista. To the average person, RCS is a “typical” Rockford school—stunning facility, large campus, academically excellent. Yet something many don’t know is that RCS has an environmental focus. RCS was the very first school in Kent County to earn the title Green School and has done so consistently since 2007. However, RCS has something that no other area school has. It has an environmental-based curriculum that is rooted in its sixth-grade classroom, but resonates throughout the entire school. While there are other environmental programs in the area, few bring the environment to the forefront while keeping with the schools’ main mission, “to prepare students to be effective servants of Christ in contemporary society.” At no other time in history has the environment been so important. Sixth-graders at Rockford Christian Middle School learn about creation and the environment daily through hands-on activities as well as weekly and annual off-campus trips to places like Camp Roger, Frederick Meijer Gardens, Plainfield Township Water Department, cleaning up the roadside as part of MDOT’s Adopt-a-Highway program, NASA Aeronautics Lab at Gerald R. Ford Airport, AuSable Institute in Mancelona, aboard the research vessel WG Jackson on Muskegon Lake, and camping at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. At these places they learn about recycling, water pollution and filtering, winter survival, and composting. But mostly they learn how to be better caretakers of the Earth and its resources. Veteran teacher Don VerMerris, with over 32 years of experience in teaching, leads the RCS community on this trek of stewardship and sustainability, and is joined by fellow teacher Julie Barrett, who has been teaching six years. The environmental classroom has impacted the student body of the whole school, trickling down to even the smallest children. A simple task, like composting food waste, becomes something even kindergarteners take part in daily with small worm compost bins placed outside of each classroom for their snack and lunch waste. Each year’s sixth-graders are responsible for “emptying” the bins, and bagging the POW (“poop of worms” as it may be) to sell it to school families for houseplant compost. On their weekly trips to Camp Roger, sixth-graders are responsible […]