Education for Sustainability

Sustainability is a key thread in O’Dowd’s curriculum. Students will build a solid foundation in sustainability during their 9th grade year through core courses such as, Science and the Environment, English (regular and honors), Geo-History (regular and honors), and the 9th grade religion classes. Beyond Freshman year, students will see sustainability weaved throughout the required subject areas, and will have the opportunity to go deeper by selecting courses that are strongly aligned with sustainability.

Center for Environmental Studies

The Center for Environmental Studies (CES) is O’Dowd’s 5,000-square-foot LEED-Platinum-Certified educational facility, dedicated to cultivating the next generation of environmental and sustainability leaders. The CES features two large indoor classrooms and a large covered outdoor classroom, which enable experiential learning and cutting-edge research. The stunning views of the Bay, large adjoining terrace, and connection to the Living Lab make the CES a great space for large group gatherings and retreats in a natural environment.

Living Lab

The Living Lab is a four-acre certified wildlife habitat and outdoor classroom committed to reconnecting students with the natural world and developing a kinship with Creation. Located on a hillside blessed with spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay, the Living Lab also borders forested public land and connects to the greenbelt of the nearby Arroyo Viejo Creek.

Begun as a jubilee year project, the on-campus ecological restoration was led by students, faculty, and parents. Volunteers have designed and installed every part of the Living Lab, transforming this once neglected hillside into a vibrant outdoor classroom. The Living Lab holds a leading reputation among school gardens and urban restoration sites and is celebrated for its unique scope and size, impressive volunteer and student involvement, and ecological integrity.

The Living Lab is an ideal setting – academically, physically, and spiritually – for applied and experiential learning, reflective and inspirational activities, team projects, investigative activities, and cross-curricular collaboration. Educators often talk about dissolving the walls between the classroom and the real world, and the Living Lab is a place where this is literally happening every day.

Read about the programs that happen at the Living Lab »

See the Living Lab Field Guide »