Following the departure of Dr. Reid Prichett at the end of the school year, Dr. Reid Cottingham will assume the revised, school-wide role.
Stewardship & Sustainability
At Pingry, we take great pride in our curious, committed community.
For over 150 years, we have been offering students a well-rounded education that emphasizes not only rigorous academics but also honor and character, respect, and an appreciation for outdoor education and community and civic engagement. An important focal point of that respect and engagement is the stewardship of all our campus resources—natural, human, and financial.
At our Basking Ridge campus, we charge students to create art with two principles in mind: environmental sustainability and a spirit of adventure. The centerpiece for this course work: the Green Art Path (GAP), a site that allows students to interact with nature through such creative activities as building sculpture made from natural materials or venturing into nature and writing about their experiences. Pingry’s own campus campsite, situated just off the path, is also a bounty of inspiration.
At our Short Hills Campus, the Big Blue Garden—a well-used learning garden and outdoor laboratory, of sorts, created by students, faculty, and staff—allows students to dig deep into interdisciplinary learning, critical thinking, and collaboration. Lower Schoolers have the opportunity to:
- Work together to separate school trash for composting and prepare soil beds for a range of flowers and vegetables;
- Employ their math skills by calculating optimal grid spacing for crops;
- Sharpen their research and writing skills by studying the garden's plants, including its herb garden, and describing the many sights and smells;
- Enjoy the fruits of their labor by sharing their produce in the lunchroom;
- Practice mindfulness techniques in the garden's "quiet classroom";
- Hone their artistic skills, using the garden's natural surroundings as inspiration during art classes.
A second garden, the Three Sisters Garden, exists on the opposite side of the Short Hills Campus. Constructed by Grade 4 students and used in Grade 4 social studies and science classes, it reflects Lenape culture. Each spring, classes plant corn, beans, and squash (considered the Lenape's "three sisters"), and harvest them when school resumes in September, providing a hands-on learning experience so students can better understand Lenape farming practices and food.
At our Basking Ridge Campus, a nearly 1,700-square-foot Kitchen Garden supplies not only fresh vegetables to the kitchen staff and, in turn, Pingry students, but a wealth of education to its students, who use the garden in many classes and interdisciplinary projects. The garden is well tended, in part, by Pingry’s Green Group, an environmental club on campus.
This group was founded with one goal in mind: to promote the values and practices of environmental sustainability within the Pingry community. Whether organizing Earth Days, securing picnic tables for outdoor dining near the Engel Dining Room, or making Pingry’s first beehive colony a reality, the Green Group is committed to making environmental education an everyday occurrence.
The roots of this long-established Pingry club stretch back to 1894 and include midnight ramblins’, snowshoein’, bear wrastlin’, and just plain takin’ it easy. Today, whether it’s hiking the woodsy campus trails, roasting marshmallows by firelight on the campsite, or organizing a variety of short and extended hiking trips off campus, you can be sure that members of the Outing Club are off discovering their next adventure.
The Head of School’s residence, completed in 2012, is an impressive example of green construction. Built from recycled materials, the house features solar technology for hot water and electricity; geothermal heating and cooling; high-performance LED lighting and high U-value windows; interiors of reclaimed, recycled, or sustainable stone and timber; and a 6,000-gallon storm water collection system for water recycling and irrigation.
An innovative leader in real-time, web-based energy and water monitoring, the Noveda “dashboard” provides powerful technology that helps the school to monitor energy consumption in order to reduce energy and water usage, optimize performance of renewable energy systems, and reduce our carbon footprint.
We have retrofitted boilers and plumbing equipment and upgraded waste systems across both campuses, enabling us to save thousands in heating costs and millions of gallons of water. We have also reduced waste pick-ups and landfill contributions through the addition of a compactor and introduction of new recycling measures.
"If it was ever alive, compost it!" This is the rallying cry of members of Pingry's Green Group, who helped to brainstorm, launch, and test Pingry's 40-foot, industrial-strength composter, unveiled in the fall of 2019. A natural extension of the School's experiential education and stewardship and sustainability initiatives, the composter was built by Pingry’s own Facilities staff and designed in partnership with the North Country School in Lake Placid, New York, all thanks to a grant from the Union Foundation. A laboratory for science students to study cellular respiration and the role of microbes in decomposition, the composter's food scraps are also repurposed into high-quality, earth-friendly fertilizer for Pingry's campus gardens.
Enterprise Risk Management
Stewardship and Sustainability isn't just about having a green thumb! At Pingry, it's a thoughtful and holistic approach to safeguarding our resources—physical, strategic, and economic—and strategic risk-taking, to ensure a bright future for the institution.
Pingry’s ongoing commitment to energy conservation and sustainability was recognized in 2011 when our buildings on the Basking Ridge campus were awarded the official ENERGY STAR certification, confirmation that we’re on the right track when it comes to ensuring top-functioning facilities while reducing energy consumption and costs.