We teach and practice sustainability every day.
San Domenico is a recipient of the prestigious U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Award for excellence in sustainability practices.
This important recognition for SD is the culmination of nearly 30 years of passion, persistence, and teamwork across our entire school to make sustainable practices an everyday reality on our campus. Our vision and mission to develop an overall sustainability program for the school began in 1994.
Today, San Domenico is home to a one-acre working organic garden and the largest solar installation in any Marin County school. Our ecoliteracy program is integrated into the K-12 curriculum with environmental education, engagement, and stewardship at the core of who we are and what we do. We provide students the time and space to work and learn outdoors on our 515-acre campus, allowing for a natural development of reverence, respect, and care for the land. Here students learn to think critically, analytically, and contextually using real life, hands-on, integrated projects to solve real world problems.
Ecoliteracy at San Domenico means our students develop a sense of their place on the land, in our community, and in the world at large. We continue to push the boundaries, to explore where we can reduce our ecological footprint and educate globally minded citizens.
Garden of Hope
"Passion is lifted from the earth itself by the muddy hands of the young; it travels along grass-stained sleeves to the heart."
AUTHOR RICHARD LOUV
We believe that if we care for our Earth and develop right relationships with all living things, our children and grandchildren will have a healthy place in which to live. San Domenico, with its rootedness in the Dominican spirit, is called to address these critical issues of our time in concrete ways throughout our curriculum, policies, and practices on campus. The Garden of Hope and its environment have become a focal point for nurturing that message.
One of the many jewels in our one-acre Garden of Hope is our outdoor kitchen, equipped with a cob pizza oven, charming work spaces, outdoor stove top, sink, and terracotta tile floor. The space was developed as an outdoor kitchen laboratory to engage students in hands-on projects that foster healthy relationships with food, such as baking, canning, herb drying, and designing, preparing, and sharing celebratory meals.
The garden—which includes multiple seasonal beds, grapevines, raspberry and blackberry patches, fresh eggs from our chickens, and myriad herbs and edible flowers—is planted, tended, and harvested by all our students. We believe that by involving them in the entire cycle of food, from garden to table, they gain a deeper understanding of the importance of seasonal, fresh food. It instills in them the importance of knowing where their food comes from and it links food and nutrition to the concept of sustainable agriculture. Many of our kitchen garden projects are integrated with studies in history, art, math, science, and ethics, philosophy, and world religions.
Our Garden of Hope is not only a sacred place and learning center for San Domenico students and faculty, but has expanded to become a model for the greater community. Our sustainability program has been featured in articles in the Marin Independent Journal, Marin Magazine, Terra Magazine, Red Orbit, More Marin, and more. It is known as a place to showcase for other schools, community organizations, and individuals to learn how to live more sustainably with the earth.
Our ecoliteracy methodology teaches students about natural systems and our connection to them from a social, spiritual, cultural, and health perspective.
Content and Connections
We teach students about natural systems and our connection to them from a social, spiritual, cultural, and health perspective.
- Approach issues and situations from a systems perspective.
- Understand fundamental ecological principles.
- Think critically, solve problems creatively, and apply knowledge and actions.
- Assess the impacts and ethical effects of human technologies and actions.
- Envision the long-term consequences of decisions.
Sense of Place
We provide students the time and space to work and learn outdoors, allowing them to develop reverence, respect, stewardship for the land, and a sense of their place here at San Domenico and in the natural world.
- Feel concern, empathy, and respect for other people and living things.
- Experience wonder and awe toward nature.
- Revere the Earth and all living things.
- Feel a strong bond with and deep appreciation of place.
- Feel kinship with the natural world and invoke that feeling in others.
Critical Thinking Through Application
We teach students to think critically, analytically, and contextually using real life, hands-on, integrated projects to solve real-world problems and understand concepts.
- Create and use tools, objects, and procedures required by sustainable communities.
- Turn convictions into practical and effective action.
- Apply ecological knowledge to the practice of ecological design.
- Assess and adjust uses of energy and resources.
Creating Community Through Celebration
San Domenico creates a learning environment that honors the importance of ritual and celebration, in order to better understand and feel connected to community and the sacred in nature.
- Commit to equity, justice, inclusively, and respect for all people.
- See from and appreciate multiple perspectives.
- Work with and value others with different backgrounds, motivations, and intentions.