Our Environmental Philosophy

As a leader in sustainability among independent secondary schools, Hotchkiss aims to incorporate environmental stewardship into every aspect of School life and model what we teach through our institutional practices — like serving our own farm-grown food in the dining hall, choosing renewable energy sources, and making a commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2020. We try to relate complex environmental issues to students’ everyday lives, using the school’s natural landscape as a real-world laboratory in which students can study everything from limnology to the effects of climate change on native plant species. Students graduate from Hotchkiss with the tools they need to take responsibility for our collective ecological future.

Students at The Hotchkiss School Farm

Teaching and Environmental Education

Hotchkiss strives to instill in students a multi-faceted understanding of the environment — through the sciences, arts, and humanities — and the School’s natural surroundings shape how students learn. Environmental science classes can conduct field research and use their findings to support land conservation practices on campus. At Fairfield Farm, art classes can practice plein air painting, poetry classes can find inspiration, environmental science classes can explore rare grassland bird habitats, and American history classes can reflect on the land’s connection to early colonial history. Through Fairfield Farm Ecosystems and Adventure Team (FFEAT), students can also gain hands-on experience at the farm — and learn about the complexities of sustainable agriculture.

What Does Sustainability Look Like at Hotchkiss?

Hotchkiss has instituted a variety of environmental initiatives so that students discover firsthand the importance of respecting the earth. Our community learns how to be stewards of our beautiful planet through a combination of classroom education and tangible practice. What does this look like in our everyday life?

Classroom Learning

Sustainability is woven into our academic curriculum. Our students' rich understanding of their environmental responsibilities starts in the classroom. Environmental science and sustainability are connected to every facet of learning — through the literature students read, the scientific research they study, and the field trips they take. Students discover for themselves not just the fact that sustainability matters, but also how and why it's so important.

Hands-On Experience

We believe the best way to learn is through action. Hotchkiss students learn to tend to the earth with care and expertise from a young age. Fairfield Farm, located just a mile from campus, provides the perfect outdoor classroom for our community. This 287-acre farmland provides the perfect space for students to grow crops, care for animals, experience outdoor classes, and harvest their own organically grown produce.

Eating Homegrown Organic Food

As an environmentally-conscious school in Connecticut, we are constantly looking for ways to take better care of the earth and teach our students how to do the same. Our Fairfield Farm provides the perfect avenue to do so. Hotchkiss students engage firsthand with growing produce, which is used to source a large portion of the food we serve in the Dining Hall.

In addition to providing food for our own campus, we partner with family farms and local businesses to source ethically grown, organic food to our community.

Exploring Surrounding Nature

Our Lakeville, CT location provides us with the perfect scenic backdrop for students to explore. The Hotchkiss School campus includes a golf course, state-of-the-art athletic facilities, and the Fairfield Farm, all of which are connected by a trail that students can walk.

We are surrounded by diverse elements of the great outdoors — a 200-acre forest and the deepest natural lake in Connecticut. Students can discover the wonder of nature for themselves by hiking, swimming, biking, sailing, or any other supervised outdoor activities.

Attending Summer Programs and Events

Students learn the principles of environmental stewardship firsthand through a number of summer programs hosted on or around our campus. These environmental education programs in Connecticut are a vital way to help students live out our school's philosophy. Our field-based Hotchkiss Summer Environmental Science program combines technical knowledge with hands-on learning, as students learn to see the outdoors in a whole new light.

Students can also discover what it means to go green when they participate in our annual Eco Day. This environmental science program in Connecticut is a chance to listen to environmental leaders and work in teams to make a positive difference in our community. This looks a little different every year. Between planting trees and cleaning up discarded trash, students learn that every small action can have a tremendous impact on our environment.