Every class, every day, we are committed to weaving sustainability into the very nature of a student's whole experience here: from the kitchen to the classroom to our interactions with the community.
Whether a community member is sorting their recyclables in a classroom, refilling their water at a filtered water bottle station, eating a scratch cooked lunch, scraping plate waste into a compost bin, or is immersed in a lesson in one of our outdoor learning gardens, they are practicing the belief that every day small actions can build the future. From day-to-day life to broader consciousness, our students become global citizens who, like our founders the Daughters of the Heart work towards an earth that is protected and restored.
Dining at Nardin
Our innovative Dining Hall program at Nardin, led by Chef Julie Levin, has accomplished one of the most daunting tasks a community can undertake: to feed a diverse population in healthy ways and in relationship to our local communities. Nardin's dining hall produces both breakfast and lunch daily from food that is largely locally sourced, organic when possible, and always scratch cooked. Through relationships developed with nearly 30 local farmers and vendors, foods that are seasonal, mindfully grown, and support the interest of our larger WNY community are purchased. The Nardin dining hall is an extension of the educational day, and our dining hall team seeks to offer an edible education and build awareness of sustainable eating.
The Nardin dining hall and kitchen strives to be a zero waste kitchen. As the kitchen is tasked with producing enough food to feed the Nardin community, but not so much as to create needless waste, we rely on the innovation of Chef Julie and her outstanding team. "Batch cooking" and dedicated record keeping provide students with the pleasure of being served food that is being cooked just as they are arriving for lunch. Daily students learn about responsibility and the importance of individual actions by sorting their lunch into clear bins marked for compost, recycling, and trash.
Our students remain proud that as a community last year, nearly 10 tons of waste was created in the dining hall and 90% was diverted to either compost, recycling, or upcycling. Natural Upcycling, a new waste diversion partner uses our compostable waste to feed their biodigester and power their sustainable dairy farm in Pavilion, NY. Working with Terracycle, the Nardin community upcycled nearly 30,000 juice bags over the 2015-16 year.
In the last several years, Nardin faculty have partnered with the Sustainable Nardin Coordinator to deepen and broaden the impact of Sustainable Nardin initiatives. By embedding the initiatives in the curriculum, students learn that the world is interconnected and gain knowledge of both human and natural communities.
Outdoor Classrooms and Aquaponics Systems
Nardin has established two outdoor classrooms: the Learning Garden and the Pollinator Garden. Both spaces support cross-curricular projects in Science, ELA, Art, Math, Social Studies, and more. Indoors, Nardin has established 4 different aquaponics systems. These systems provide students the opportunity to extend both the growing season and their learning into the winter months.
Nardin Academy uses solar panels on our western roof to offset electricity costs in addition to using technology in curriculum applications.