What Green Club’s been up to this fall

Student Post!

US student Emilia Pierce sums up what US Green Club has been up to this fall:

In October, several members of the Upper School Green Club presented Green Club’s ideas, goals for the year, and future projects in an Upper School collection. The presentation began with a reminder of past projects, which included working with the board of trustees and Glenmede – our investment management company – to get a screen on fossil fuels. This project was successful and in 2018 resulted in our school being able to filter out 95% of all fossil fuels investments. Soon after, our school was able to switch to 100% clean energy.

In past years, the Green Club has worked with the dining hall to reduce the use of single use plastics, and will continue to do so throughout the year. Additionally, Green Club hopes to continue a more political initiative to combat climate change which began during the climate strike when students called and wrote letters to legislators to talk about climate action. This year, the club hopes to communicate with some of the Baltimore Mayoral candidates as well as some Maryland senators about future legislation that can help the environment.

Green Club also mentioned the ecojustice retreat to encourage students to get excited and to sign up to learn about ecojustice in Baltimore City. Ecojustice is essentially the intersection between environmentalism and social justice. Participating students got a tour of Baltimore through an ecojustice lens, and later learned about assets based community organizing.

Power 52 speaks to Upper School Feb. 13

Thank you to Solar United Neighbors for the Community Solar diagram in the gallery above

Jason Jannati presented to the entire Upper School on Feb. 13 about Power 52’s work in the Baltimore region and the nation. Power 52 states that their mission is:


Jannati spoke about his own path to working for the organization, entrepreneurship, community solar, and how Power 52 helps young people and returning citizens to get the training, job, and retention skills they need to succeed in the solar industry and beyond. Students and faculty had lots of questions, but if you’ve got more, check out Power52’s website!

Next up: Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin speaks to US students March 1st about the Healthy Green Maryland Amendment and Quaker activist high school student Kallen Benson (video link of what she’s doing).

Come meet with Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin Feb 6 PLUSS Day

Update: this was a great session! Thank you to the eleven faculty who came–we’re looking forward to the March 1st presentation to the Upper School and to potential collaborations in the future

Feb 6 PLUSS Day Session with Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin (7:45 am, Forbush 247)

Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin (who was part of the FSB Earth Day panel a few years ago) is pushing Maryland legislators to take up a constitutional amendment that would give Marylanders the right to “a healthy and healthful environment.” If approved, it would make it easier to enact and particularly to enforce environmental regulations; other states have had success with this strategy and we think it’s time for Maryland to join them.

Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin is eager to collaborate with FSB faculty and students and would love to have students testify in Annapolis this session. She will also address the whole US student body on March 1. See this recent article about her work. Email Joshua Ratner / Katherine Jenkins with questions.

Students, parents, faculty and staff all welcome!

Jan 8 FSB Event: Responsible Investment and Community Solar

Join Friends School on Tuesday, January 8, 6:30 pm, in the Forbush Atrium and Auditorium for an engaging discussion on community solar, sustainable investing, and stewardship. On hand will be representatives from Glenmede, the School’s investment management firm, as well as CleanChoice EnergyClimate Access FundNeighborhood SunPower 52, and Solar United Neighbors

Click here to RSVP.

Enjoy refreshments and a meet and greet with the presenters (6:30-7 pm) followed by Glenmede’s overview of the investment landscape and how Friends School of Baltimore aligns its investments with Quaker values and other key environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives (7-7:30 pm). The evening will close with panel discussion about the current legislative and policy landscape for community solar, and how residents and institutions can benefit from community solar and purchase solar power. For more information contact Bonnie Hearn.

Did you know? Friends School powers its electricity using 100% solar and wind energy. Last spring the school signed an agreement with CleanChoice Energy, which buys electricity wholesale from regional wind and solar farms and sells it (with no upfront investment, set-up fees, or installation) to homes and businesses through their existing utilities.

So, What’s Community Solar?

Here’s a basic diagram (and come ask questions about the details on Jan 8!):

Thank you to SolarUnitedNeighbors for the image.

Q: What’s in the Bay? A: FSB 9th Graders

Last week, while sophomores and juniors took the PSAT, every ninth grader packed a lunch, boarded a bus, and went to three locations in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. They canoed! They tested water quality! They learned about Bay ecology! And some of them got really close to that ecology, donning hip waders and seine-netting to see what thrives in the creeks that feed the bay. What’s in the Bay? fish, muck and mud, and at least last week, a whole lot of FSB 9th graders. IMG_0818IMG_0830

Rick Darke to speak at Friends Apr 3

cross-posted from the Friendsbalt.org main page (and on NPTG site–sorry for overlap if you’re reading again); notice that you can pre-register at the link below!

Elevating the Nature of Modern Landscapes

Friends School of Baltimore, in collaboration with the Guilford Garden Club and Lake Roland Nature Council, will present Elevating the Nature of Modern Landscapes, a free lecture presented by noted horticulturalist, author, and photographer Rick Darke, on Tuesday, April 3, 7 pm, in the Forbush Auditorium (3C on the campus map). To register click here. A 6:15 pm book signing will take place in the lobby, with many of Mr. Darke’s books available for sale, including American Woodland Garden: Capturing the Spirit of the Deciduous Forest, The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden (co-authored with Doug Tallamy), and Gardens of the High Line: Elevating the Nature of Modern Landscapes (co-authored with Piet Oudolf).Mr. Darke heads Rick Darke LLC, a Pennsylvania-based consulting firm, and lectures internationally on sustainable landscape design and ethical planning and conservation. His work, which includes include residential gardens, parks, post-industrial sites, transportation corridors, and corporate and collegiate campuses, blends art, ecology, and cultural geography in the design and stewardship of living landscapes. For more information about his April 3 lecture contact Heidi Blalock.

Doug Tallamy speaks at Friends, Tues Dec. 5 (free: spread the word!)


Cross-posting this with the Teaching Gardens blog.

Doug Tallamy will speak at Friends Tuesday, Dec. 5

If you’ve followed this blog, walked, weeded or planted any of the gardens on campus, you already know a little about Tallamy’s ideas. It’s hard to overstate how influential he has been in recent years in the Native Plants movement, especially among those of us who think of gardening as a way to increase wildlife in our gardens and our lives. If you love Chelone glabra, black swallowtails, chickadees, or a great lecture, you should come.

Doug Tallamy, “Creating Living Landscapes,” open to all and admission is free.

Tuesday, December 5, 7 pm, in the Forbush Auditorium.

Spread the word! More details here.

Stewardship: Saying Yes, Saying No


Stewardship Collection 2017 Fall (2)

The Upper School gathered earlier this week for a SPICES talk on stewardship on our campus and in our local and global community. We talked about the work students, faculty, the Guilford Garden Club and landscape staff have done together to create the Native Plants Teaching Gardens on campus.

Stewardship Collection 2017 Fall (1)


We also watched a very brief clip from the Hometown Habitat video shot in part in those gardens on campus and another brief clip about Goldman Prize winner Destiny Watford, whose activism in the Baltimore neighborhood of Curtis Bay prevented the creation of another incinerator in a neighborhood already suffering from poor air quality.

Destiny Watford, Goldman Environmental Prize Winner

Sometimes stewardship means saying Yes to new gardens; sometimes it means saying No to protect community and limit further pollution.

Upper School students begin their own stewardship program here on campus in October, keeping our campus infrastructure clean and safe and supporting our community on campus and in the greater Baltimore region.

More slides from the presentation here.



Earth Day 2017

Earth Day 2017

Another Earth Day! Some more nice photos here

Students of every age took part first in the morning convocation, where students showed their contributions to the MD Green School application (above) and then headed outside to explore nature, plant and tend the Teaching Gardens, clean up local parks, make birdhouses, plan for the Climate Mobilization march, discuss environmental racism, make chalk drawings and prayer flags, etc….  Middle School students learned from parent McKay Jenkins, who discussed his recent book Food Fight and Upper School students heard from panelists discussing the movement to divest from fossil fuels at Johns Hopkins, (student Maggie Weese), from Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin, and from Andrea Calderon, Baltimore City’s Youth Sustainability Coordinator. Another good day!

Friends is now an MD Green School!

Upper School students making chalk murals with pre-First on Earth Day left this message for the campus 

Two years after we first announced our plans to apply, Friends is now officially a MD Green School. Yay! As we wrote on the application:

Since Spring 2015, we have learned a great deal about what the school has already achieved and what we still have ahead of us. From first graders tagging monarch butterflies to seniors mentoring freshmen in Aquaponics Club, from juniors leading fourth graders around campus to learn about industrial composting and waste management and third graders petitioning the school to purchase sustainable and fair trade chocolate, students have embraced sustainability in its widest definition. Teachers guide students to see the widest implications of sustainability, asking them to think about what it means to sustain a culture’s and a community’s long-term approach to the “three Es of sustainability”: equity, economics, ecology…. 

We know that we have more work to do: richer integration throughout the curriculum, ever deeper collaboration, and further facilitation of the work students are ready to lead themselves. We hereby commit to this document as a baseline for how our school can continue to improve.

And we really believe that–this is an exciting affirmation that we are on the right track even as it points us towards opportunities ahead.