Sustainability San Domenico

Marin County, California

In 1994, The Ecological Design Institute embarked on a year-long project to develop and implement a pre-school through high school design science curriculum. The aim of the project was to develop an ecology-based comprehensive program which offers children the tools needed to build a livable and sustainable future. San Domenico School, founded in 1850, offers an excellent environment to develop and demonstrate a replicable model of "Education for Sustainability", integrating ecology and design across disciplines and age levels.

Students studied sustainable design principles at three levels of scale: the Watershed, the Campus, and the Garden. Hands-on projects included environmental mapping, creek restoration, local ecology, building with natural and renewable materials, organic gardening, constructing an aquatic ecosystem and more. As part of a campus restoration project, three high school students worked to eradicate pampus grass, an invasive introduced species. Students designed and constructed a straw bale and cob bench, decorated with handmade painted tiles and set in the garden as a meeting place.