NBS is one of only five schools in the Commonwealth to receive the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ Virginia Naturally School Recognition Award for all ten years the program has been in effect. Schools receiving this recognition have demonstrated exemplary efforts to promote good stewardship of Virginia’s natural resources. Virginia Naturally Schools must meet specific requirements, which increase with each successive year a school achieves this recognition. To celebrate this milestone, on November 20 North Branch School was awarded a sign acknowledging their achievement.
In their application for the 2008-2009 school year, North Branch School outlined the units of study about nature and the service efforts that all of the students, preschool – 8th grade, enjoy. Projects for the 2008-2009 year included, planting and harvesting the school’s gardens, feeding, identifying, and graphing sightings of birds, wildflower walks with the Wintergreen Nature Foundation, building mini-greenhouses, maintaining the school’s nature trail and outdoor classroom, geology lessons with a field trip to Grand Caverns, and stream monitoring as part of the Chesapeake Bay Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience. In May, North Branch’s middle school students spent several days on the Chesapeake Bay, learning about the Bay’s habitat and ecosystems through the programs of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Local groups, such as the Blue Ridge Sierra Club, RiverFest of Waynesboro, and the Wintergreen Nature Foundation helped to underwrite this hands-on field study.
Last school year was a time of education in green building for North Branch students and staff as they observed the construction of the school’s new annex. This building, opened in September 2009, is insulated with natural cotton fiber insulation and integrates radiant floor heating and south-facing passive solar elements. Sun tubes bring natural light into the north-facing rooms.
For more information about the Virginia Naturally Recognition Program, visit the Virginia Naturally website at www.VaNaturally.com. For more information about the environmental stewardship efforts of North Branch School, please call 540-456-8450 or email the school at firstname.lastname@example.org.