CA is committed to advancing our environmental stewardship and sustainability programs in the classroom and throughout campus.
Our true CA colors will always be red, white, and black, but Colorado Academy has also definitely “gone green.”
Sustainability is a watchword for many educational institutions, and CA is no exception. In its basic meaning, sustainability implies that human activity should only use nature’s resources at a rate at which they can be replenished naturally. This means not only cutting down on wasteful practices and reusing materials, but also making it easier for natural recycling processes to work, such as using products made of recyclable materials or utilizing biodegradable supplies.
Colorado Academy is committed to creating a sustainable future by empowering our students, faculty and staff, and families. Through campus programs and projects, as well as education, we address the concepts of sustainable development and encourage the practice of new competencies, so students become informed global citizens.
In 2014, CA was named a Gold Partner of the Colorado Environmental Leadership Program, recognizing the school’s commitment to reducing its impact on the environment.
Colorado Academy has adopted a set of sustainability guidelines, which have been endorsed by the Board, that focus on six categories of influence: Administration; Climate Change & Energy; Food & Recycling; Green Building; Transportation; and Program.
CA prioritizes sustainability in all of its cleaning practices.
Cleaning chemicals used at CA are 100% bio-degradable and safe for the environment.
CA paper products are comprised of the highest possible recycled content and/or derived from rapidly renewable resources.
CA employs hands-free technology in all restrooms, kitchens, and classrooms for its sinks and paper towel and foam soap dispensers—reducing waste and the spread of germs by 65%.
Coreless toilet paper eliminates cardboard roll waste.
CA housekeeping staff hand sort each 3-bin (recycling, composting, landfill) disposal system nightly. This intentional focus results in a diversion rate of 90%—meaning only 10% of disposed items end up in a landfill.
The Upper School Environmental Club works alongside custodial staff to create waste management signs that are authentic to the CA community and promote proper sorting of waste.
CA encourages bus ridership for families through our extensive bus service program, serving households from 82 Denver-area ZIP Codes.
Ten metro-wide bus routes are offered to families, which alleviates hundreds of daily single-family car trips to school.
CA bus ridership has increased in 2022-2023, with at least 40 fewer vehicles coming to campus daily, compared to 2021-2022, saving 272 barrels of fuel per year.
CA's diesel buses and campus vehicles use 20% bio-fuel—the maximum percentage allowed by engine manufacturers.
CA has a full-size 65-passenger hybrid bus in our fleet.
CA participates in a program piloted by the Regional Air Quality Council, which provides funding for retrofitting older buses so that they meet today’s stringent emissions standards.
Members of the Upper School Environmental Club are researching the impact of idling cars on the environment. Students created an interactive skit to perform in front of the Lower School and Upper School drop-off circles to educate the community about carbon emissions produced by cars.
Next steps: CA is looking to add electric buses to its fleet and install EV stations on campus.
To mitigate energy usage on its 94-acre campus, CA has adopted these green policies:
100% of water for lawns and grounds is drawn from Woody's Pond.
Woody's Pond ditch water is non-potable and chemical-free.
Unused irrigation water flows into creeks and ditches for downstream neighbors.
CA plants 50-100 trees per year, adding to the diversity of species and offsetting CO2.
CA prioritizes replacing blue grass in strategic areas with native grasses and xeriscaping that require little or no water.
The Upper School Environmental Club continually researches water consumption on campus and explores ways to reduce water usage through xeriscaping and other means.
The school selects low-water-use ornamental flowers for pots and beds.
CA purposefully plants honeybee and butterfly-attracting flowers and shrubs all over campus. Several honeybee colonies thrive on campus and serve to encourage awareness of pollinators and their different roles in promoting a healthy environment. Additionally, the campus is home to a number of wild beehives.
Sustainability is taught in CA classrooms from Lower School through Upper School. Faculty and staff reinforce Earth-friendly best practices and bring environmental stewardship into the curriculum.
Here are some examples:
The Upper School has an active and engaged Environmental Club, where students promote conservation by fostering collaboration, supporting a diversity of opinions, and setting achievable goals to create sustainable changes on the CA campus.
The Upper School has created a lab-based course on Climate Change, providing a forum for students to deeply investigate this defining issue of our time.
In the Upper School honors course Environmental Chemistry, students devise real-life solutions to environmental challenges. Review students' work here.
CA Eighth Graders completed a climate project called, We Are Not Doomed, which provides students' scientific solutions to some of our most pressing climate issues.
In Lower School, students are taught about where trash goes, and learn about landfills and their significance in bringing seagulls to Colorado.
As part of a student-run project in experiential learning, Middle and Upper School students converted two CA golf carts used by maintenance/grounds staff to solar power.
The Middle School Future City team imagines, researches, designs, and builds sustainable cities. The CA teams have won regional competitions two years in a row.
In Lower School, students learn about honeybees as part of their study of nature’s systems. CA's beekeeper brings live bees (safely contained) and other teaching aids from the field into the classroom to give students an opportunity to observe these tiny but important contributors to the global ecosystem.
Vermicomposting—indoor composting with worms—is an ongoing project in Pre-K through Grade 3 science classes. Students collect fall leaves, shred newspapers, and mix in leftover food waste to make bedding for new vermicompost bins. Through books, students learn the important role annelids perform in an ecosystem—recycling waste and helping the Earth. Learn more.
In the Grade 5 Capstone Project, Voices of Change, students tackle problems that are important to them—often these are climate challenges.
CA recommends these books for families who want to bolster their sustainability efforts:
How to Avoid a Climate Disaster by Bill Gates
All We Can Save by Katharine Wilkinson
Drawdown by Paul Hawkin
Families may also wish to sign up with Ridwell, a residential program that makes it easy to recycle, reuse, and donate the items you no longer need. You collect, and Ridwell picks it up and works with local partners to put your donated stuff to good use.
University of Redlands - BS Montana State University - MS At CA Since: 2020
Sydney Finkbohner first joined the Upper and Middle School faculty as a Math and Science Intern in 2020, becoming a full-time Upper School science Instructor in fall 2021. Prior to CA, she taught Chemistry at South Kent School in Connecticut and Steamboat Mountain School in Colorado. She holds a BS in Chemistry from the University of Redlands and a Master of Science in Science Education with emphasis in Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Science from Montana State University. Finkbohner likes participating in CA’s outdoor education programs, and she holds Wilderness First Responder accreditation, as well as Level 1 Ski Instructor certification. She’s a trivia whiz, and her other pastimes include traveling, cooking, rock climbing, and mountain biking.
University of Puget Sound - BA University of Colorado-Denver - MA At CA Since: 1997
Jeff Goldstein, a Preceptor, began teaching at CA in 1997. After graduating from Colorado Academy in 1988, he received his BA in Asian Studies from the University of Puget Sound. He then moved to Sichuan, PRC for two years to teach English and study Chinese. He ended up spending a year teaching at a small private elementary boarding school. Goldstein returned to Colorado and completed his teacher training as an intern at Stanley British Primary School and subsequently went on to receive his MA in Educational Psychology from the University of Colorado-Denver. Summer includes spending time with his family. After teaching Second Grade for many years, Jeff now teaches Lower School science to Pre-K, K, First and Third Grades (featuring vermiculture), and units on Robotics to all Lower School grade levels.
University of Saint Francis - BS Old Dominion University - PhD At CA Since: 2021
Upper School Science teacher Dr. Leo Procise came to Colorado Academy in fall 2021 from teaching AP Biology at the McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tenn. He has also taught various biology, environmental science, geology, and oceanography courses at high schools in Indiana and as a college instructor at the University of Saint Francis, Ind., and Virginia’s Old Dominion University. He has presented at many conferences, taken educator and professional workshops and research cruises from Hawaii to Bermuda to the Chesapeake Bay, and has published many papers on marine biology. He earned a BS in Secondary Education Biology from the University of Saint Francis (Indiana) and a PhD in Oceanography from Old Dominion University. Dr. Procise is also a swim and dive coach, has coached middle school football, upper school track and field, and volleyball, and has served as a counselor and science educator at camps for autistic children and inner-city youth.