Bioblitz and Fitz Presentation Celebrate Sustainuary

News  /  by Dev Chhokra '19  /  February 17, 2017

Lisa Kim '17/The Lawrence

During the sustainability-themed school meeting this past Thursday, Director of Sustainability Sam Kosoff ’88 H’96 P’19 introduced Lawrenceville’s newest summer program, the Leopold Society, and Science Master John Clark reintroduced the School’s annual environmental awareness program, Bioblitz.

The Leopold Society, though only unveiling its summer component for the first time yesterday, has been active for the past two years. Previously, IV and V Formers were appointed to the Leopold Society by Lawrenceville faculty and were given funds to conduct their own research in the field of environmental science.

Starting this year, however, as Kosoff said to the School, “The Leopold Society will offer a summer residential program with an academic curriculum that is focused on environmental science, literature, and art, and offers opportunities for work on the Big Red Farm, as well as trips to local parks, hiking trails, and campsites.”

Members of the society will also continue to meet after the summer component and create and present a project summarizing their work and what they learned through their experience before they graduate.

Like the existing Hutchins and Heely Scholars Programs, the Leopold Society is a way for students with a passion for environmental studies, ethics, and sustainability to conduct research beyond their classrooms. Potential candidates will have to submit a resumé and application to Kosoff and a panel of teachers, who will then review applications before inviting students to in-person interviews. Leopold Society candidates will be judged on their dedication and work in environmental studies classes, along with their participation in experiential education and their leadership experience. Kosoff will be hosting an informational session on February 23 for those who are interested in applying for the Leopold Society.

As another component of Sustainuary, Clark reintroduced the annual Lawrenceville Bioblitz, an online species surveying and identification contest for Lawrentians and faculty. Clark announced that Bioblitz would be accepting submissions from abroad this year, so students returning home and going on international trips this spring could participate as well.

To assist him in his presentation, Clark invited Emmy Award-winning cameraman Tom Fitz to present his work in environmental films. A contributor to National Geographic, PBS, and the BBC, Fitz has studied and recorded dolphins, whales, killer whales in the wild, and pygmy three-toed sloths. He has traversed ice shelfs, from above and below, in the Canadian arctic and has travelled to the tropics, Antarctica, and ecosystems in between.

The winner from of the Lawrenceville Bioblitz and the newly accepted Leopold Society members will be announced this spring.