St. Paul's seniors Christian Baran '18, A.B. Woods '18 and Jack Stanley '18 researched and articulated a vision for fighting light pollution on campus. Director of Facilities Danny Taylor and the Maintenance team worked tirelessly to implement that vision. For their combined efforts, both groups were named the 2017-2018 winners of the Cathy McAuliffe Environmental Leadership Award, culminating the School's weeklong Earth Day observance.
As sophomores, the trio of students were selected to attend the 2016 Student Global Leadership Institute, which worked to find solutions to the issue of conservation. Baran, Woods, and Stanley focused on light pollution, and its negative impacts on human and animal populations. For humans, these impacts include lost starlight in the night sky, and the wasted usage of energy caused by over-illumination, particularly upward directed lighting at night. Light pollution causes particular threats to nocturnal wildlife, negatively impacting plant and animal physiology, confusing migratory patterns and altering predatory-prey balance.
Throughout their junior year, the student group worked diligently to share their research and findings throughout the campus community – from elementary-aged to high school students and teachers, at St. Paul's and SPSG. They met with members of the administration including the Headmaster, Assistant Head, Head of External Affairs, CFO, and Director of Facilities to share their findings and to urge the school to develop a campus plan that includes dark sky compliant lighting. In response, the Maintenance team adjusted the school's lighting plan and worked throughout last summer to install new lighting and retrofit old light fixtures; all are now dark sky compliant. Students educated adults, and the adults took the steps to implement their recommendations. The School and the environment will benefit as a result.
The McAuliffe Award, named for long-time staff member Cathy McAuliffe, recognizes outstanding contributions by a St. Paul's student, teacher, staff member or group that promotes a more environmentally sustainable campus and planet. When Mrs. McAuliffe retired in 2010, Board of Trustees established the Award to recognize the leadership she demonstrated during her 26 years at the School in advancing a campus-wide commitment to a greener, more environmentally sustainable St. Paul's.
Past McAuliffe Award winners are:
2011: Howard "Howdy" Knipp, Middle School Science teacher
2012: Edward Brady, Upper School Science teacher
2013: Doug Finkel, Middle School Woodworking teacher
2014: Pat Kraemer, Lower School Science teacher
2015: Lee Mueller, Director of The Ward Center
2016: Mick Scott, Upper School Science teacher and K-12 STEM Director
2017: Nancy Dimitriades, Lower School Science teacher
The St. Paul's community observed Earth Day from April 23-27. The week included a campus-wide "Hour Without Power," during which faculty, staff, and students turned off lights, computers, smartboards, ipads, photocopiers, and personal electronics as a collective gesture of solidarity with the planet. Other activities included days dedicated to reducing the use of paper, the use of disposable food containers, and to cutting down on carbon emissions associated with travel to school.