Powhatan Named “Green School”

Powhatan School has been named a “Green School” through the 2011 VAIS Independent School Go Green Challenge. Head of School, Sue Scarborough, will present the award to the student body at a special All School Gathering in the Niemann Auditorium on Friday, November 18. “It truly is a great honor for the school, reflecting our longstanding commitment to environmental education,” said Mrs. Scarborough.

Not only did Powhatan earn the distinction of being named a “Green School,” but the K-8 school placed first in the Day School (200-500 student) category in the 2011 VAIS Green Independent Schools Challenge. Winners were announced Monday, November 14, 2011 during the annual VAIS conference in Richmond, Va. These schools scored highest among all competitors in the challenge by implementing sustainable practices and policies throughout their campus. Schools were rated on 26 different areas of sustainability in order to qualify to be named a “Green School.”

A portion of the challenge related to adopting a curriculum plan that incorporates key sustainability concepts into age appropriate curriculum. “This is something that Powhatan has been doing for more than a decade through our NEAL Program,” commented Upper School Science Department Head Mr. Ray Legge. “The NEAL Program (Nature Enhanced Approach to Learning) is specifically designed to integrate the value of nature across all areas of the curriculum. There is a significant portion of our curriculum that focuses on sustainability and the environment and we are very fortunate to be able to use our natural surroundings as an outdoor laboratory to engage our students in outdoor education.”

Mr. Legge lists numerous recent opportunities for Powhatan students to learn more about the environment around them. “Between Conservation Day, the Square Meter of Life project, the Eighth Grade Chesapeake Bay Trip and the recent presentation from National Geographic scientist Tim Samaras; we work very hard to incorporate environmental sustainability into the everyday curriculum. Even the McIntosh Center for the Arts and Sciences is green – drawing heating and cooling from multiple geothermal wells on campus.”

According to the VAIS (Virginia Association of Independent Schools) website, “The Green Independent Schools Challenge is a friendly competition designed to encourage implementation of specific environmental policies and practical actions that reduce the carbon emissions generated by Virginia’s independent schools and the broader community.” Read more about the challenge (sponsored by BCWH & Trane) by visiting:


“Receiving the recognition reinforces Powhatan’s focus on its mission to learn not for school but for life, says Mrs. Sally Megeath, assistant Head of School. “Lesson plans toward excellence, respect, integrity, civility and service have taught students to care for the school’s campus and natural surroundings; to reuse, recycle and reduce materials; and to participate in service efforts that preserve our environment.”

The award presentation will be held at 2:20 p.m. in the Niemann Auditorium, located in the Lindsey Library on the campus of Powhatan School.