Students have opportunities, through various clubs and projects, to become environmental ambassadors and leaders by example. Starting in Pre-K, students recycle and compost as part of their daily routine, laying a foundation of environmental awareness. Gardening is an integral part of the Lower School, and students donate their harvest to local organizations and communities committed to sustainability and social justice. Students also enjoy experiential learning through field trips such as the Kindergarten trip to a farm, the first grade trip to a botanical garden, and the third grade trip to the Hudson River and Blind Brook Stream.
A guiding question for RCDS Middle Schoolers is: How I can I be the best version of myself while living altruistically and sustainably on earth? In the Middle School, environmental learning dovetails with the RCDS STEAM initiative as students begin to make cross-disciplinary sustainability connections in science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. For example, in Grade 5, students engineer lamps, from design to production, out of recycled materials. Students also connect public purpose with sustainability through various projects that explore the greater systemic causes for a range of environmental issues, such as water access, farming/gardening, and pollution, among others. From working in RCDS gardens to leading environmental clubs on campus, nature journaling, data-collection projects, and launching conservation initiatives, Middle School students learn and act with a paradigm of citizen science.
RCDS Upper School students exercise active environmental citizenship with passion and knowledge. Students have various opportunities to learn about and take action on causes about which they are passionate. From the Environmental Club, local and global collaborations, and advanced data collection and analysis to environmental science course work and student-led projects, Upper School students employ critical thinking and cognitive reasoning to solve complex real-world problems. Their work is supported by a foundation of sustainability knowledge and an awareness of current events and how they fit into the landscape of environmental citizenship. Cutting across disciplines, sustainability challenges students to transfer knowledge readily and apply skills thoughtfully. The intersection between social justice, equity, and sustainability is examined in the Upper School to encourage students to think broadly and critically about power dynamics that influence current environmental issues affecting communities near and far. Rye Country Day students graduate equipped with the knowledge, analytical skills, and practical experience to support their continued development as engaged and active lifelong stewards of the planet.
- United States Education Department’s Green Ribbon Schools Award, 2013
- Westchester County Earth Day Award, Spring 2011
- Rye Sustainability Committee Leadership Award Recipients, Spring 2018
- Schoolyard Habitat Certification through the National Wildlife Federation,
- School Garden Grant from the Whole Kids Foundation, 2016
- Recognized by the Town of Rye Sustainability Committee as a Rye Healthy Yard
- Monarch Waystation
- Green Restaurant Certification (Flik)
- Green Cup Recycling Challenge (1st place)
- Green Cup Video Challenge (1st place)
- Westchester County Eco-Award, Summer 2018