Between 2009- 2012, Sustain Dane partnered with the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) and Edgewood College to help MMSD explore how they can better integrate sustainable practices into day to day operations as well as teaching and learning. A District Sustainably Plan outlining current sustainable practices, its vision of sustainability and its sustainability goals was drafted the fall of 2012.
From 2011 through 2014, Sustain Dane, in partnership with McKinstry, coordinated the People.Power.Planet that encouraged students, teachers, and administrators across the district to learn, act and share practices that save energy and reduce waste.
Sustain Dane shepherded the idea for an environmentally-based charter school from its initial concept, through the Madison Metropolitan School District system, to completion. The result: Badger Rock Middle School hosted its inaugural class of 49 students in fall 2011. This school embraces the fundamental tenets of Education for Sustainability – students learn systems thinking and civic responsibility through real work in the school and community.
Sustain Dane is a founding member of the Madison Area GROW Coalition, a network of organizations and individuals in Madison committed to the principle that outdoor education is an essential part of schooling. GROW is focused on healthy childhood development, successful learning, and the formation of ecologically literate, civically engaged young people. The GROW Coalition works towards integrating the use of outdoor learning and garden based education into area schools, believing that outdoor classrooms should be an extension of the classroom, every bit as foundational as libraries and computer labs.
During the 2011-12 school year, Sustain Dane piloted The MPower Schools Program. This year-long program was patterned after Sustain Dane’s successful MPower Business Program. During the yearlong program, dedicated students, parents, and staff at East High School and Leopold, Lapham, and Thoreau Elementary Schools formed green teams, took on multiple and varied projects related to waste, energy, and water conservation, and made significant strides in sustainability and sustainability education. During 2013 and 2014, the MPower Schools Program teamed up with the GROW Coalition to offer the Growing Outdoor Classrooms Program to elementary and middle schools in Dane County.
In 2012 4 local leaders were awarded The Metcalfe’s School Garden Leader Award in recognition of their efforts to bring outdoor learning and garden-based education to students in our community. Awardees included: Cheryl Stout from Oregon Middle School, Mary Michaud from Van Hise Elementary in Madison, and Natalie and Gabrielle Hinaraha from the Clark Street Community School in Middleton. Each award winner received $1000 towards enhancing their school’s outdoor classroom. Sustain Dane and Metcalfe’s recognized the winners at the 2012 Badger Bioneers Conference.