Landon School

From left: Ethan Fieger, Jack Sears, Bradley Johnston, Aiden Kelso and Conor Cassidy check out a soil sample at the school. Photo by Darren S. HigginsCategory: A school (public or private) that is promoting and implementing green practices

Landon School in Bethesda is making the environment a central concern for staff and students.

The private school for boys issued an Environmental Values Statement in 2010, and works hard to connect students with nature via field trips and greenhouse gardening. Freshmen are required to take an environmental stewardship class.

The school has made changes in the way it operates, as well.

Landon has reduced its trash production by about 1.5 tons each month thanks to composting bins and cutting back on disposable cups and milk cartons—efforts that were recognized by a 2012 Excellence in Recycling award from Montgomery County. The school also reduced its energy and water consumption by eliminating plastic lunch trays; students now carry the separate dishes.  And Landon is on track to cut electricity usage by 20 percent a year, plus it’s transitioning to using more wind power.

“Overall, the level of [environmental] awareness has risen not only at school, but at home,” faculty member Laurie Sears says. “Parents have said, ‘My kid has been on me about getting recycling bins.’ ” The changes have sparked a healthy debate over environmentalism and broader political issues, such as climate change, she says.


Science teacher Larry Fullerton says Landon’s environmental awareness has been increasing for several years and mirrors wider societal changes. Educators are “planting the seeds that hopefully will grow,” he says.

Former student Isaac Porter, 18, of Chevy Chase says Fullerton’s meteorology and oceanography courses were his most memorable classes. Charting weather data for extreme storms helped him grasp the power of nature, and learning how climate change is warming oceans helped him understand the consequences for food chains.

“I learned about the world I live in,” Porter says. And the learning continues: Those classes prompted him to take environmental geography at Colgate University, where he is now a freshman.


About Bethesda Green

The 2012 Bethesda Magazine Green Awards are presented in partnership with Bethesda Green. Founded in 2008, Bethesda Green provides businesses, government and the community with programs and services that promote a healthy economy and sustainable living practices that reduce our impact on the environment. The local nonprofit houses a green business incubator for startup companies and creates programs to inspire action and educate the public through online tools. It also hosts a center that showcases green products and services.

With key partners in the business and nonprofit communities and in Montgomery County government, Bethesda Green also installs and maintains recycling bins in downtown Bethesda, and promotes local food and agriculture, energy efficiency and renewable energy at home and in the commercial sector.

Bethesda Green participates in numerous events—held at schools and business gatherings, and in neighborhoods and faith-based communities—that educate people about sustainable living practices. Its annual Bethesda Green Gala, at which the Green Awards were presented, took place on Oct. 11 in Rockville.


For more information about Bethesda Green, go to

Christine MacDonald lives in Washington, D.C., and writes about environmental issues.