The friendly dairy cows were special guests on campus during the School’s Green Week celebration (May 8-12) that EFFECT, the upper school environmental club, hosted.
Lee Bergelson, general manager of Brock dining services, invited the calves from a farm in Dutchess County, New York, where the School’s dairy products are sourced.
“In most instances, the family farmers who make up the Hudson Valley Fresh dairy co-op are multi-generational farmers,” he explained. “They care deeply for their cows and are very proud of the milk their cows produce. Farming is an integral part of sustainability, so we felt it was important to highlight local farmers who do right by their animals and the land that they farm.”
“We are grateful that Brock and Mr. Bergelson have forged relationships with agricultural producers in our surrounding area and enabled our campus to learn more about the importance of sustainable food systems,” added Courtney White, EFFECT faculty advisor.
White said the week was a big success thanks to EFFECT co-chairs Sophia Semczuk ’23 and Bobby Callagy ’24. Both students were instrumental in the planning and execution of Green Week activities centered on gardening, composting and nature appreciation.
“Our focus was about sustainability within your own home and when you’re buying products in general,” said Callagy. “We wanted to have more interactive events where we could promote sustainability by selling items and welcoming animals to campus.”
The club hosted a daily green market on the quad with goods from local shops: Rivertown General and Bloomy Cheese in Dobbs Ferry, and Eco Evolution in Norwalk, Connecticut. White explained that the proceeds from the green market will go to “a verified carbon offsetting project that will be identified through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).” She explained that “While there is work that we can all do to reduce our impact through behavior change, the students recognized the need to also identify opportunities for carbon offsetting.”
Eco-friendly campus commitment continued across campus, with the School participating in No Mow May
, a nationwide initiative to not cut grass for a month, which allows bee-friendly plants to thrive. Mowing less is one way to protect the more than 3,600 species of bees in the United States.
Craig Dunne, Masters’ beekeeper and head of engineering and maintenance, explained that the School is taking part in No Mow May so that the grasses and weeds on campus “will be able to come up and flower, which gives a ton of food and pollen to the bees. They don't have to fly that far. A bee will go up to a mile a day to find food, so if we have a campus this big and we don't mow the lawn and everything flowers, it's a lot healthier." Masters has three beehives that are home to an estimated 1 million bees.
Georgia Warren, middle school EFFECT advisor, shared how middle school students marked Green Week with some innovative events.
“The Parade of the Microbes, held during a recent Morning Meeting, was a celebration of the research that seventh grade students had recently completed as part of their studies on the human microbiome,” she said. “This is based on the annual Procession of the Species in Olympia, Washington, in honor of Earth Day, in which people make costumes of all sorts of different creatures to celebrate biodiversity.”
Middle school EFFECT co-chairs Jack Costo ’27 and Jesse Ostrom ’27 along with club members created a recycling can in the shape of a bear, to encourage students to recycle as well as draw a parallel to a creature that is known for getting into trash.
“The large sculptural recycling can, made of electrical conduit and chicken wire and lovingly referred to as ‘Trash Bear,’ will be in front of the Middle School through the end of the school year,” Warren said.