Keeping with Woodlawn’s practice of building ongoing partnerships between school and community, our service learning program incorporates sustainability as a central theme for certain grade levels.
Beginning in fifth grade, students take charge of the very important task of campus recycling. They become the student leaders for our campus recycling program teaching others best recycling practices and reminding their peers the importance of doing so. They also instruct students and teachers on ways to reduce energy usage on campus. This is the group behind the “Turn off the lights!” signage that you will see in our campus restrooms! Throughout the year, fifth graders visit all the classrooms and offices on a weekly basis to collect the recyclables. At times it can be a “mountainous” job, but they always have fun doing it.
The sixth grade service learning program is animal advocacy, through which students learn about the impact humans have on wildlife and the environment. Through field trips to the Humane Society and Carolina Raptor Center, students develop a greater appreciation for animal life and realize the importance of the human role in protecting their natural environment. The study of birds is part of an integrated bird migration unit in which students examine birds and bird migration in science, service learning, music, art, language arts and math. Every spring, sixth graders “adopt” a bird at the Raptor Center, paying for the adoption with money earned from selling pepper and tomato plants they have grown in the Woodlawn greenhouse. This field trip is integral to student understanding of the natural world as an interdependent and living system, vulnerable to pollution and overuse, and dependent on humans to make the right decisions to protect America’s natural heritage so raptors can continue to soar in our skies.
The aim of seventh grade service is to introduce students to sustainability as a way to become positive contributors to our society. Through class discussions, readings, and field experiences, students explore a variety of environmental issues facing our local, regional, and global community. Using what they learn from these experiences, they develop educational opportunities for others so they can incorporate sustainable practices into their own lifestyles. Integrating service learning with science, language arts, and visual arts, they design and create public service announcements about creative reuse, and develop action plans to enact on our campus, and in our local community to help develop a sustainable society. Through this process, students come to recognize the positive impact they can have on our community and our environment.
The upper school students promote sustainability on campus by assisting the 5th graders with the recycling program, and lending a hand in the Woodlawn gardens. They support sustainability in action when working at the Mooresville Soup Kitchen by sorting, packaging, and processing donations of food and produce from area grocery stores, to be distributed to clients. The items that have passed the expiration date go to local farms to be used as feed, utilizing millions of pounds of food that would otherwise have ended up in a landfill.