Leading Environmental Activism: O’Dowd’s “Kinship with Creation” Curriculum Inspires CA Educators
CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES | LIVING LAB
Kinship with Creation
Located on a hillside blessed with spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay, our 4-acre Living Lab and Center for Environmental Studies (CES) are widely celebrated for their environmental leadership and ecological integrity, earning The Green Achiever Award from the California Department of Education. Offering students a pioneering education in ecology, environmental science, and environmental justice, our Living Lab includes a native plant community, certified wildlife habitat, and sustainable garden. Our CES features two large science laboratories, and a large covered outdoor classroom. Together the Living Lab and CES create an experiential and multidisciplinary learning platform for students, offering them myriad opportunities for both cutting-edge research and quiet contemplation, and empowering them to become the next generation of environmental and sustainability leaders.
"Environmental education should facilitate making the leap towards the transcendent which gives ecological ethics its deepest meaning. It needs educators capable of developing an ethics of ecology, and helping people, through effective pedagogy, to grow in solidarity, responsibility, and compassionate care."
- Pope Francis, Laudato Si
Science and the Environment
Our foundational 9th grade course gives students integrated skills in scientific method, data collection, laboratory tools, educational technology, and analysis, while providing a meaningful introduction to the environmental issues associated with stewarding the earth.
Through theological reflection, place-based learning, and anthropological study, students dive deep into Catholic teachings, world religions, and indigenous wisdom to examine the concept of environmental stewardship and develop pathways to practice sustainability.
AP Environmental Science
This interdisciplinary course equips students with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to identify and analyze natural and manmade environmental problems, evaluate risks, and examine solutions.
Beyond the Classroom
Kinship with Creation
We believe in learning “Beyond the Classroom” and several O’Dowd courses, including Science and the Environment and Biology, require students to contribute service hours to the Living Lab. With options ranging from Green Dragons Flex, After School Service, and Saturday Service Days, students participate in caring for native plants, composting, planting, caring for animals, and more.
Michael Downs, Director of Justice & Kinship
Raised in Montana, Michael graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a BA in Philosophy and an MA in Education. He went on to earn an MA in Christian Spirituality from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley’s Graduate Theological Union. He is most inspired by O’Dowd’s unique Charism of social justice, kinship with creation, and joy.