Academic Divisions (JK-12)
Middle School

Earth Week 2024

The Steward School
Digging into hands-on activities
Meaningful connections. An enriching curriculum. Learning that extends beyond the traditional classroom. The Steward experience helps students dig deeper into learning as they explore the topics that define our time. Earth Week 2024 brought together Spartans of all ages for fun, informative activities that delighted and inspired.

“At the Bryan Innovation Lab, we are always trying to model ways of being more environmentally conscious,” said Megan Young, Bryan Innovation Lab program specialist. During Earth Week, which took place in April, students, faculty, staff, and parents took part in a variety of special activities. “The goal was for all of us to feel more connected to our natural environment and understand how we can make small changes to care for this place we call home,” said Ms. Young. 

Student-Led Activities
Riley Carter ’26 capped off his participation in the year-long James River Leadership Expedition (JRLE) program by leading the removal of invasive plants around the Bryan Innovation Lab retention pond. “By doing so, we are ensuring a more healthy and biologically diverse ecosystem,” said Ms. Young. Nathan Bridges ’26, who also participated in the JRLE program, built a bluebird house and asked Spartans to submit drawings inspired by nature, which he then engraved onto the birdhouse using a laser cutter. And Henley Voeks ’24, who served as a graphic design assistant in the Bryan Innovation Lab, created stickers of some of the animals that can be seen around the Bryan Lab.

Kaylyn Whiteside ’25 centered her Leadership Program capstone project around collaborative, recycled art for Earth Week. Kaylyn soaked used markers she collected from Lower and Middle Schoolers in water, turning them into a rainbow of watercolors. She then designed a mural and invited Spartans to stop by the Bryan Innovation Lab and decorate the mural with the reimagined “paint.” 

A self-described “ecocentric person,” Kaylyn said, “I don’t like it when people leave the lights on or when we throw away things that can be repurposed. I created this project because of my passion for reducing waste.” She was happily surprised when she saw her vision come to life. “The dye in the markers was extremely vibrant!” she said. “I was ecstatic with the result and so thankful to everyone who helped.” Kaylyn’s favorite part of Earth Week was “being able to share my passion through limitless opportunities. It was a stress-free way to become involved with the community and the environment. Ms. Young encouraged me to push my limits on creativity and interact with students and faculty in all divisions. I am thankful for this experience and plan to continue projects like this.”

Local Experts 
Sessions with local experts after school allowed families to take part in hands-on Earth Week activities. Bryan Lab visitors created natural cleaning products to take home, built worm composting kits, and got the “buzz” on bees from a local beekeeping expert. 

“These informal workshops were a great way to engage the community,” said Ms. Young. “Participants were all-in as they got their hands dirty building the composting kits, which they took home to use in their gardens. And learning about the lifecycle of bees allowed folks to get an up-close look at these fascinating pollinators.”  

Lower School Fun
In conjunction with Earth Week, Lower Schoolers participated in special Earth Day (April 22) programming. They dedicated the twigloo and a newly planted tree in memory of Ingrid Moore, whose birth date is April 22. A plaque dedicating the twigloo was gifted by last year’s fifth-grade class.


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