The Springboard classes may highlight environmental and/or local topics. Notably, Emily Howley’s Global Food Chain course has delved into innumerable environmental and local issues.
Mercersburg offers several other courses which have some level of environmental focus, including, but not limited to, U.S. history and American studies (connecting to a sense of place); numerous graphic-arts courses; field biology; chemistry; and physics (where Dave Holzwarth literally builds solar panels from scratch with students).
Mercersburg teachers use environmental examples in classes, but these are too innumerable to count. A few examples include:
Sue Malone’s chemistry classes go to the local wastewater treatment plant.
Jim Malone takes students to trap and band migrating hawks. He also teaches students how to work on a standard combustion engine and other elements of cars/trucks.
Will Willis, Franklin Bell, and Frank Rutherford ’70 take AP environmental science classes to visit a local landfill, water treatment plant, and sewage treatment plant. They have also taken boat trips around Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and the Chesapeake Bay and visited the beaches of Delaware on off-campus trips.
Renee Hicks’ chemistry students write reports on global water issues.
Field biology classes sample local streams for anything from invertebrates to muskrats.
Mercersburg frequently invites speakers to address the student body. Environmental speakers from the past several years include former ambassador Richard Benedick (author of Ozone Diplomacy), Mike Tidwell (Chesapeake Climate Action Network), Warren Wood (visiting professor of geosciences at Michigan State University), Elizabeth Kolbert (author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate), Jonny Dubowsky (Founder of Rock n’ Renew), William Kamkwamba (Author of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind), Bob Reiss (Author of The Coming Storm) and more.
Several extra-curricular activities on campus actively promote environmental connections for Mercersburg students, not the least of which include:
Mercersburg Outdoor Education: On any given day, MOE groups might be kayaking, hiking, rock climbing, or backcountry skiing in the region.
Community Garden: In the spring term, a select group of students works with Todd McGuire in the Community Garden (which is then maintained by faculty and staff volunteers during the summer).
Community Service: Community Service students engage in a wide range of organizations, several of which are environmental in nature, like the Tayamentasachta Environmental Center, the Tuscarora Wildlife Education Project (TWEP), Adopt-A-Highway, and more. About half the school population does volunteer work on Community Day each spring, and many of those projects frequently involve cleaning up trash and maintaining trails or facilities at regional hiking paths, centers, and rivers.
Join the conversation
Founded in 1893 in the heart of Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic, Mercersburg is a private, coed, college preparatory boarding school with approximately 435 students (15 percent are day), grades 9-12 and postgraduate.
We offer 170 courses, including AP and Honors, more than $7 million in financial aid, 26 varsity sports, and a state-of-the-art performing and visual arts center. Located 90 minutes from Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, and within easy driving distance of New York City, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. 300 East Seminary Street, Mercersburg, PA 17236 GPS Address: 10951 Buchanan Trail West, Mercersburg, PA 17236 717-328-6173