What is Environmental Stewardship?
At Sterling College, Environmental Stewardship is something we do and experience every day. It is the essential enterprise of our campus.
At Sterling College, we see ourselves as part of the natural world. Like the great environmentalist Aldo Leopold said, we look to use the land with love and respect, treading as lightly as we can.
Think of Environmental Stewardship as a verb. To “steward” means to manage or take care of, and it starts with the 430-acres that make up our beloved campus in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.
The Sterling College Microcosm
The Sterling College educational model of study, work, and community represents a challenging and overlapping set of theory-based and applied learning experiences. The individual components of our educational model are often formally recognized as our curriculum or program, but the program is understood to also include the informal co-curricular and integrative learning experiences of students who participate in a broad range of daily activities that contribute to their education.
A Sterling education is fundamentally experiential and place-based in character, with the world as the primary classroom, laboratory, and research setting. Whether offered in a room on campus, at the State House, or on a mountainside on the other side of the continent, classes foster deep inquiry and close relationships between faculty and students. With shared educational outcomes and experiences across our disciplines, the College uses the liberal arts to strengthen our understanding of the natural world (Ecology), interpret the human experience with the natural world (Environmental Humanities), understand human adaptation of the natural world (Sustainable Agriculture and Sustainable Food Systems), and prepare ourselves and others for experience in and with the natural world (Outdoor Education).
A Sense of Place
“A Sense of Place” is both the name of a class and a way of living. As a first-year student, you will take “A Sense of Place,” digging in to the ecology, culture, and society of northeastern Vermont. You will visit local farms and artists, take part in outdoor challenge activities, and discuss what it means to live sustainably.
You will also begin to feel part of Sterling’s ecosystem. As you begin to work the farm, prepare food in the Kitchen, or care for our animals, you will develop a profound regard for the people and place where you live.
Environmental Stewardship, then, is your sense of ownership in your work, your education, and the work we do to ensure the health of this land now and for years and years to come.
“At Sterling College, there’s a real history of being able to see where you’ve been, where you are now, and where you’re going. Sterling is a really experiential place. Here, you can get a feel for the kind of world you want to live in, and what kind of world we can create.” —Brighde Moffat ’15, Cultural Geography