Spartans Celebrate Earth Day by Reducing their Footprint on The Hill

Lauren Murphy, environmental science and biology instructor and Upper School sustainability coordinator, helped to arrange and plan more than two-dozen Upper and Middle School eco-friendly Earth Day sessions and activities designed to help students connect their minds, bodies and spirits with nature.  

Along with Murphy, student members of the Green Goblins environmental club led efforts of coordinating with many faculty members to guide habitat restoration projects, soap making, solar cell creation, climate activism through art, a hike to the Gulch and nature poetry writing.

Upper School Science instructor and gardening extraordinaire Kathy McCain facilitated a large campus beautification project that freshened up a patch between Becker Library and Hines Hall where seniors will walk during their upcoming graduation procession.

“I noticed it needed a little love,” said McCain.

Equipped with shovels and smaller hand-held gardening tools, US students spread out across the large flower beds unearthing weeds and dead plants. They planted brightly colored, drought-tolerant Texas native plants. 

“In a few weeks and months it will really look nice when everything starts blooming and the empty spaces start filling in,” said Cale Chappalear ’24 who plans to study botany this fall at Cornell University.

The St. Stephen’s grounds crew used a front loader to haul in multiple truckloads of larger rocks which were added to a bed right outside Becker Library. Students stepped in and spread out the rocks to cover the xeriscaped flower bed.

Middle School students completed similar work in front of Gunn Hall, laying 25 bags of new mulch and planting 150 new flowers.

Across campus, other teachers lead a variety of Earth Day activities. Theology instructor Jim Woodruff led a group of students through a meditation exercise near Brewster Memorial, where the group sat peacefully along the steps of a trail listening to the Hill Country breeze blowing through the trees. 

Mathematics instructor Michael Oberle guided a geocaching group, and History instructor Gretchen Young made friendship bracelets with Taylor Swift fans (a.k.a Swifties) while guiding a “sustainability Era” discussion. Mathematics instructor Kurt Oehler introduced students to soap making, a hobby he picked up during Covid.

Thank you to the faculty, staff and students who made this an Earth Day to remember, and may it leave a lasting impact on our Spartans!
Address: 6500 St. Stephen's Dr., Austin, TX 78746
Phone: (512) 327-1213