The Living Lab
From a student perspective, kinship with creation may be epitomized by our on-campus “Living Lab,” a four-acre outdoor classroom, native plant community, certified wildlife habitat, and sustainable garden. As a platform for experiential, multi-disciplinary learning, the Lab not only engages students with topics such as ecology and food systems, it also provides a peaceful setting for contemplative practice, meditation, and written observation.
Begun as a jubilee year project in 2000, the on-campus ecological restoration was led by students, faculty, and parents. Volunteers 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.
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. This unique geographical location fosters meaningful lessons on the interconnectedness of environmental, racial, economic, and social justice.
Managed by O’Dowd’s Creation Care Team, the Living Lab continues to depend on volunteers through afterschool programs and monthly Saturday workdays. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact the Creation Care Team at [email protected].
Center for Environmental Studies (CES)
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. For more information about features of the CES, please watch the adjoining video.