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AP Environmental Science class takes trip to Narrow Ridge Earth Literacy Center
Rita Mitchell

Learning about living sustainably, discussing relevant philosophical ideas, and expressing gratitude were some of the opportunities that 19 students in Webb’s AP Environmental Science class recently experienced. The group visited Narrow Ridge Earth Literacy Center in Washburn, Tenn., on a two-night field trip.

The website notes that the Narrow Ridge Center “is a nonprofit organization established to study, teach, and demonstrate sustainability with solar powered rental facilities and homes that have been “off the grid” since 1991. Narrow Ridge is dedicated to providing experiential learning of Earth Literacy based on the cornerstones of spirituality, sustainability, and community.  

“We have been going to Narrow Ridge Earth Literacy Center for several years now to show students how individuals live sustainably in our environment,” said Pamela Seals, Science Department chair and class teacher. “The leaders show students how they can use the resources available to us in the world with more of a focus on balance. Seeing the techniques first-hand can be incredibly impactful for the students.”

During the trip, students lived in a sustainable way with electricity powered 100 percent by solar energy, ate a vegetarian diet and learned about passive solar design mechanisms. They also visited local residents’ homes, to see how each of them designed and built their home in a sustainable manner. Additionally, students were able to tour all the facilities used for community activities and were able to visit the first modern natural burial ground. In each of the buildings, attention was paid to power use, water use and general architectural design to sustainably exist within the environment. The trip also included stories told by local residents, a night hike with star gazing, a campfire and singing folk songs.