The Ecology School wants to become one of the nation’s most sustainable residential environmental learning centers—and to build Maine’s greenest buildings. The School brings students from across New England into the natural environment through overnights, trips, and programs focused on environmental stewardship, sustainability, and the joy of getting outdoors. We knew that designing a new campus would be a labor of love, and we couldn’t wait to get to work.
The site is also almost entirely situated within a conservation easement, meaning that 90 percent of the land is under strict environmental protection rules that limit the kind of construction allowed. Their ambitious goals include adhering to the Living Community Challenge guidelines, the most advanced measure of sustainability in the built environment today. The Ecology School wants all their new buildings to meet Net Zero Energy standards, including making sure that all the water used onsite can be reclaimed.
After years of renting a site, the Ecology School set out to find a new home where they could set down roots. The new site is located along the mighty Saco River just before it reaches the ocean. It includes a 105-acre organic farm with produce, livestock, and orchards, which will anchor lessons in sustainable agriculture and food systems.
We are leading a four-firm team that includes Scott Simons Architects, Briburn, and Richardson & Associates, and have partnered with landscape ecology analysts to understand the site’s potential and the School’s goals for improving every inch of its diverse riverfront property. Each year, elementary and middle school students will be able to visit this new home and explore its ponds, river, and woods while learning about how to care for the natural world.
Will any of the Ecology School’s students grow up to be green architects one day? We hope so.