Environmental Leadership Summit

Green Mountain College has been leading the charge toward environmental sustainability, carbon neutrality, and conservation for over 20 years. With an organic farm on campus, a biomass plant heating the college, a solar installation providing electricity, an endowment divested from fossil fuels, and a curriculum centered on sustainability; it is clear why The Princeton Review ranked GMC as the “2nd greenest school in the nation”.

This year, Vermont Summer Academy will play an active role in GMC’s efforts to reach authentic sustainability and carbon-neutrality through the Environmental Leadership Summit. Taking place on the first Friday of each session, the Environmental Leadership Summit will allow VSA students to have hands-on experiences with the sustainability initiatives on campus and gain a better understanding for ways that we can meet the environmental challenges facing our planet. Throughout the day students will help to conserve native plants and animals along the Poultney River, complete an ecological design-build project, prepare a farm to table meal, and build leadership skills through a challenge course. Students will also have the option of participating in a hike and overnight excursion at GMC’s Lewis Deane Nature Preserve.

9:00 – 9:30 AM Sustainability 2020 Panel Discussion

  • Join in a discussion of GMC’s sustainability goals and the future of our planet with environmental scientists and activists from the college and community

9:30 – 10:00 AM Students choose one of the following tours:

  • Sustainability and Renewable Energy: Students take a tour of renewable energy initiatives, including the biomass plant, solar installation, energy monitoring dashboard, electric vehicle station, and waste diversion/composting program.
  • Cerridwen Farm and CSA: Students will experience the organic farm and meet the various livestock that call it home. They will learn about the food system innovations, including the edible garden, apiary, and solar-powered utility vehicle.

10:00 – 12:00 PM First Session: Students chose one of the following

  • Ecological Design-Build Project at the REED Studio
  • Bio-Blitz of plant/animal species of the Poultney River Ecosystem
  • Challenge course and leadership skills with Green Mountain Adventure Programming
  • Farm to table meal preparation with the Summer Farm Intensive students

12:00 – 12:45 PM Lunch at the Cerridwen Farm House

  • All VSA students will enjoy a meal sourced from the college farm and edible garden.

1:30 – 3:30 PM Second Session: Students Choose one of the following

  • Wildcrafting and foraging, gather and learn about edible and medicinal plants/fungi
  • Bio-Blitz of plant/animal species of the Poultney River Ecosystem
  • Challenge course and leadership skills with Green Mountain Adventure Programming
  • Invasive species management with the GMC Natural Areas Crew

4:00 PM Students participate in a group reflection or join one of the optional activities

  • Optional: Hike and overnight at the Lewis Deane Nature Preserve
  • Optional: Participate in farm chores with the Cerridwen Farm Crew