Abington Friends School has been selected to receive the 2021 MWEE School of Excellence Award! This new annual award celebrates outstanding implementation of all four essential elements of the Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) by formal educational institutions. AFS was formally recognized on Tuesday, March 23, 2021 at an awards banquet at the PAEE Virtual Conference.
Of the school, MWEE said:
The Abington Friends School is being recognized for their outstanding MWEE
implementation through their AFS Outside program (AFS Outdoor Scholarship, Initiative, Discovery, and Exploration). With funding from the Department of Environmental Protection and the Friends Council on Education AFS became the first K-12 certified school arboretum with over 300 tagged trees. Students regularly upload photos, poems and information about the trees on campus to the arboretum website through their science, art and English classes. Their partnership with the Tookany Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership (TTF) was the catalyst for the project, including more than 200 students planting a riparian buffer along 500’ of stream bank, the installation of two raingardens, and the design of a bioswale to capture runoff.
The watershed work is leading the way for environmental justice work through the Upper School’s Environmental Action and Justice Club that works hard to educate the community on environmental justice issues. The outdoor curriculum has been expanded to include food equity and sustainable farming including several pollinator gardens with bees to be added in the spring. It’s normal to see many different groups of students out on the campus, doing various activities. There might be a Farm Ex group outside building raised beds, Middle School students doing a cleanup and planting along the stream, an English class writing poetry along the stream, a photography class taking pictures of the trees, and Lower School students releasing Monarch butterflies and studying the structure of flowers. AFS Outside has certainly been a gift to the community!
AFS is also one of nine schools that the Arbor Day Foundation recently recognized as a founding campus in the Tree Campus K-12 program. It is a special designation for the schools that piloted the program.