A Pre-Kindergarten - Grade 12 co-educational independent day school in Westchester County, New York


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The Sustainability Program Hosts Guest Speakers from Tanzanian Sustainable Development Organization Mainsprings

The Sustainability Program at RCDS welcomed guest speakers Chris Gates and Seraphine Lyimo from Mainsprings, a sustainable development organization in Tanzania. Mr. Gates is the Founder & CEO of Mainsprings and the operator of a sustainable farm in Tulsa, OK. Mr. Lyimo is the Mainsprings Country Director in Tanzania. 

Their presentation focused on permaculture in Tanzania and how sustainability leads to prosperity. They discussed their comprehensive approach to fighting to end poverty in rural Tanzania through education, regenerative agriculture, and healthcare. Regenerative agriculture refers to farming and grazing practices that reverse climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity – resulting in both carbon drawdown and improving the water cycle. This type of farming is part of permaculture, which is land management and settlement design that uses whole-systems thinking and mimics flourishing natural ecosystems. 

A main tenet of permaculture is community resilience through ecological design to ensure that a community’s use of available resources does not result in detrimental effects to collective well-being, of the environment and the people alike. This approach to rural development takes into account that people and the environment are inextricably connected and their mutual thriving is hinged on sustainable practices that ensure longevity of natural resources and human prosperity.

RCDS junior Buck Coquillette ’24, who facilitated the event, shared, “After visiting Mainsprings, and following their work for many years, I was excited to invite Mr. Gates and Mr. Lyimo to campus to share their achievements in education and restorative agriculture." 

Students in Ms. Linderoth’s AP Environmental Science class were in attendance, as well as RCDS employees and other Upper School students. The event sparked generative discussions about sustainable agriculture and its benefits and great potential in Tanzania and beyond.

Many thanks to Mr. Gates and Mr. Lyimo for an informative presentation.

“The Mainsprings presentation demonstrated a real-life example of how sustainable agriculture can be used around the world to benefit people and the planet. Students asked thoughtful questions that demonstrated a high level of interest in the topic. They will be able to apply this knowledge during our upcoming unit on agriculture in AP Environmental Science.” —Kerry Linderoth, Director of Sustainability

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