Friday, February 11, 2011

A Model School for Green Living

Finally, time to check in while on the road. I recently returned to the Florida Keys (after a long road trip) for more research and inspiration. But I must share the story of a wonderful school visit along the way.

January 31st I visited the third and fifth grade classes at St. Stephens Episcopal Day School in charming Coconut Grove, Florida. ( For an author whose mission is not only to entertain and educate, but also to encourage environmental stewardship, visiting St. Stephens was a rare treat.

As part of its mission, the school engages in green education by developing and implementing programs that focus on:

• Teaching children about the environment while encouraging good stewardship of our earth…Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
• Practicing sustainability of resources such as energy, supplies and food.
• Creating a green and healthy space to work, learn, eat and play.

By way of modeling its mission, St. Stephens' newest office and classroom building is LEED certified. LEED stands for ‘Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’, the nation’s benchmark for 3rd Party verified, Green and Sustainable buildings.

Planning A Picture Book was the program requested by Mrs. Booth and Mrs. Silva for their third grade classes. These enthusiastic students had previously analyzed and summarized picture books and were now ready to create their own.

It was a pleasure to learn that this spring fifth graders in Mrs. Basáñez’s and Mrs. Bernal’s classes will visit Sea Camp on Big Pine Key, Florida, the very island on which both Island Sting and Stakeout are set. As a preview of wildlife they may encounter when they study at Sea Camp’s Newfound Harbor Marine Institute (, I shared a collection of photographs documenting the research that inspired and informed my writing. The slide show is one part of another author program, A Writer’s Story.

Librarian Ellen Bulkley describes Island Sting as not only a fun read, but a perfect extension to the Sea Camp curriculum.

Arriving as the entire student body congregated outdoors in the courtyard, I listened, uplifted by the sincere voices pledging allegiance to faith and flag, and then came the unexpected final words: I promise to care for the Earth as my home and to respect it at all times, by recycling, conserving energy, and saving water. I promise to encourage my friends and family to care for the Earth in the same way. Honestly, the experience gave me chills.

These children are leaders of today and tomorrow. Thank you, St. Stephens. I'm resting easier these days.

Soon to come: A preview of Stakeout.


  1. Very interesting concept. I enjoyed your very different blog.

  2. Lovely blog. Well done, Bonnie! :)

  3. Good luck Bonnie, don't you just love the keys. As soon as you get there, it's another world!

  4. Sounds like you're having a sucessful/inspirational road trip! NC will be a letdown when you come home!