This year, the Derryfield Green Club decided one day wasn’t enough–and extended the celebration of Mother Earth to a full week. Working in collaboration with the Spirit Club, the list of events included costumes, competitions, and challenges, all in the name of “greening up” Derryfield.
Monday was “Seasons Day,” where classes wore clothes that reflected summer (seniors and juniors), spring (sophomores and freshmen), fall (7th & 8th graders), winter (6th graders), and “weather” (faculty). On “Trashless Tuesday,” everyone was challenged to eschew paper in favor of digital solutions, and the dress dictum was “outfits that had been thrifted.” In an all-out effort to save energy, lights were turned off throughout the school on Wednesday. Neon was the clothing choice of the day–brightening the world through color rather than kilowatts. Thursday the attire theme was “Animal and Floral Day,” with a concentration on awareness of endangered animal species. The Green Club encouraged everyone to team up with friends or colleagues to pick up trash around the campus (during lunch) and the nearby vicinity (after school).
On Friday, the theme was green and blue, the official colors of Earth Day. At a special Community Meeting in the auditorium, Middle School student and “Kid Conservationist” Jack Dalton spoke of his efforts to raise money and awareness about orangutans, who are on the endangered species list. To date, Walton has raised just over $10,000, with a goal of getting the great apes, which are native to the rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia, off the list. Dalton then introduced Derryfield alum, Gary Hirschberg, who is the Co-Founder and “Chief Organic Optimist” at Stonyfield Yogurt, the country’s leading organic yogurt producer. Hirschberg opened his talk by congratulating Walton for all his work on behalf of the environment and adding a $1,000 donation on behalf of himself and his wife, Meg.
Hirschberg explained that his career has been in “organics,” a field that did not exist when he was a student at Derryfield. Encouraged by Derryfield teacher Kevin Cullen, Hirschberg and his classmates, questioning students of the 70s, were prompted to turn around their stream of “Whys?” into “Why nots?” Hirschberg said that Cullen’s intent was to give the students agency to take action to fight the environmental problems they were seeing all around them.
After Derryfield, Hirschberg studied climate change at Hampshire College. There he became introduced to organics, particularly in terms of agricultural practices. This formed the basis of the business model for Stonyfield. Hirschberg concluded his speech by urging Derryfield students to, “Picture what is coming for you, and keep asking why not–because that is a path toward a more sensible future.”
Following Hirschberg, Maya Neuman, co-captain of the Green Club, listed the major milestones the club had achieved over the past year, including starting a newsletter, attending a climate forum, planning a school-wide and greatly attended “seed bomb” activity, and extending the Derryfield Earth Day celebration to an entire week. A Maroon vs. White environmental trivia game brought the Community Meeting to a rousing conclusion.