Readington's Committment to Sustainability
Readington Township is a uniquely gorgeous community in harmony with the environment, including preserved farmlands and open space, Category One trout streams, and walking trails. This natural beauty represents the vision, commitment and hard work of many people in our community over a very long time. The Readington School District is a partner in this effort by seeking to instill the values of sustainability into the future stewards of this township, our students. Not only do we accomplish this through stewardship, but we also seek sustainable ways to manage our buildings.
We have been recognized with numerous state and federal awards for our ongoing commitment to the environment, embodied in our energy conservation efforts, facilities operations, and sustainability curriculum. In a concerted effort since 2010, when we first undertook a district-wide energy audit, to this day, we are constantly striving to improve our performance and achieve one of our Strategic Goals: "Every individual will develop skills that promote an awareness of self and others as well as the environment, including the ability to understand the impact of their decisions."
Along the way, we’ve saved the district hundreds of thousands of dollars, reduced the district’s footprint, taught our students to be better stewards and thought leaders, and have even inspired some in the STEM fields of study. Initially, the District’s focus was primarily on energy conservation. The energy audit identified projects which would have the greatest returns both short- and long-term. We began sequentially implementing them as it made sense. We hired an Energy Efficiency Coordinator and worked with the Schools for Energy Efficiency initiative to bring lessons into the classrooms, very successfully modifying energy usage behavior. We wrote and implemented an Energy Efficiency policy, and then applied our facilities the new standards. We went on to write and implement a District Sustainability Policy and a Green and Healthy Schools Cleaning Policy. While reducing energy usage, we also looked to produce our own lower-cost carbon-free electricity with the installation of solar panels at our schools, which were completed in 2018. The district now produces approximately 35% of the electricity we use and are looking into expanding the solar installations in 2023. The Energy Efficiency Coordinator position has now broadened to a Coordinator of Green Initiatives and Sustainability position to reflect a wider mandate. We’ve diverted parking lot runoff into a river-friendly rain garden, and are now constructing another. New sustainability content is being added to the curriculum which will enhance the utility of our outdoor classrooms. We’re working on National Wildlife Federation certification for a created schoolyard habitat. Our students have presented at international conferences, collaborated with Columbia University students, won group and individual awards, and released trout they raised in the classroom into local streams.
Please join us. See what we are doing, and what you can do to help:
- Volunteer (plantings, expert lectures, nature walk guides, garden maintenance, etc.)
- Join the Green Committee
- Be a liaison (Township, State, NGOs, etc.)
If you have any questions or ideas about our schools’ energy efficiency strategies or activities, please do not hesitate to contact our district Coordinator of Green Initiatives and Sustainability, Betsy Freeman firstname.lastname@example.org.