The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) has recognized Ross School’s Bridgehampton campus as Certified Wildlife Habitat through its Garden for Wildlife program. The certification recognizes Ross School’s efforts to create spaces that improve habitat for birds, butterflies, frogs, and other wildlife by providing essential elements: natural food sources, clean water, cover, and places to raise young. The certification also identifies the Lower School campus as part of NWF’s Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, a national effort to restore critical habitat for pollinators.
The certification aligns well with the Ross School’s sustainability mission. Among the Lower School green efforts are an organic food garden, in which students grow local, seasonal vegetables; a Peace Garden that students use for meditation exercises; a working farm that houses donkeys, sheep, pigs, and fowl; and a red maple tree donated by last year’s sixth grade class, which was blessed by members of the Shinnecock Indian Nation.
“We all know that we have a significant impact on our planet. The more students interact with their natural environment, the more they will come to appreciate and care about making their impact a positive one,” said Bryan Smith, the Lower School science teacher who led the NWF certification process. “Placing our students in nature has made them more aware of what is around them, which makes them better, more concerned global citizens.” In the 40-year history of NWF’s Garden for Wildlife program, nearly 200,000 habitats have been created, making yards, schools, businesses, places of worship, campuses, parks, farms, and other community-based landscapes across the country into vitally important wildlife sanctuaries.