From monitoring the carbon-free energy produced by our solar panels to composting lunch scraps, Tower students take an active role in protecting our environment. Take a look at the list below to learn about just some of the initiatives Tower students have taken to promote sustainability and awareness.
Composting: Students and faculty compost fruit and vegetable scraps from snacks and lunches, averaging about 100 lbs. of compost per month! The compost is used in the student's square gardens and in the Tower teaching garden.
Monitoring Tower's Solar Array: Electronic monitoring stations within our science lobby allow students access to solar activity and carbon offset data on a daily basis. The Solar Array is a practical teaching tool for students to learn about our energy future.
Schoolwide Recycling: Each classroom and office is equipped with a recycle bin, and everyone at Tower is in the habit of recycling paper and plastic. Students are responsible for emptying the classroom and office bins into larger collection barrels.
Student Environmental Committee: Tower is the only elementary school on the North Shore that has a student-led environmental committee that has been active for over 15 years. Every Friday afternoon, our 6-8th graders make time for community service activities. Interested seventh and eighth graders can choose to belong to the Tower School Environmental Committee. After electing their own officers, the students work together to run the meetings and put forth various initiatives.
Bottled Water Removal: In the fall of 2009, Tower replaced the plastic bottle water cooler in the faculty room to a water filtration system.
Electronic Spotlight and Veracross: Beginning in the fall of 2007, Tower increased its electronic communication with its parents and families to reduce paper waste. In fall 2008, Tower began electronic distribution of The Spotlight, the weekly school newsletter. The school database system, Veracross, has now been implemented throughout the school and eliminates the need for paper directories and report cards.
Building Green: The new Upper School wing that opened at Tower in 2007 includes environmentally friendly products and systems. They include the use of renewable, domestically grown wood for framing, trim, doors, and siding; optimal use of daylight, reducing the need for artificial lighting in classrooms and lobby, and sensor-based lighting; low-VOC building materials; motion-activated lavatories that restrict water usage; and light colored roofing material that lessens the cooling load in the summer months.
Green Products: Tower uses “green” cleaning products made of hydrogen peroxide and orange oil on floors, desks, and other surfaces. Its playing fields are pesticide- and herbicide-free.
School Bus: The Tower School bus picks up students each morning in Nahant, Lynn, and Swampscott. Besides being an invaluable convenience to several parents, it demonstrates energy efficiency by reducing the number of cars on the road.
Collaboration with Marblehead Conservancy: Tower sixth graders are on a mission to slow the loss of biodiversity in our local ecosystem. Under the guidance of the Marblehead Conservancy, they have chopped down invasive plants in the nearby woods and planted a tree farm of red maple and white pine seedlings in the school’s Teaching Garden.
Earth Day Celebrations: Some years we celebrate on a small scale, with homemade buttons and badges or decorated paper bags from our local grocery store. Other years, we’ve gone all out and had educational activities at every grade level. But not a year goes by that our school doesn’t celebrate the Earth on this special day.
Ethical Electronics Recycling Event: The school hosts an event to collect used electronics that are then disposed of ethically -- meaning that nothing collected was tipped into landfills, incinerated as solid waste, or dumped in developing countries.
Solar Car Competition: Every spring for the last 14 years, Tower eighth graders have participated in the annual Junior Solar Sprint Challenge at MIT. Utilizing their knowledge of solar power and working in teams, the budding student engineers design and construct their own solar cars that can carry soda cans. During the competition, Tower’s fastest cars compete against 50 other teams from all around the state.Summer Cleaning Treasure Hunt
Trash-Free Lunch: Students are encouraged to bring in trash-free lunches. This simple change from using plastic baggies, single serve items such as yogurt, and disposable napkins to more environmentally friendly choices like reusable containers and cloth napkins significantly reduce the weekly amount of trash.