Center for Sustainability and Entrepreneurship Fund (CSE) is an innovative educational center at Whitefish Schools, providing hands on learning experiences for K-12 students in sustainable energy, agriculture, forestry, natural resources, and entrepreneurship. The fundamental objective of the program is to prepare Whitefish students for college, career, and citizenship by immersing them in interdependent, real-world programs.
The state of the art “net zero” facility will include classrooms, laboratories, a greenhouse, energy systems, production gardens, orchards, and an experimental forest. It will be located on an ideally suited, three – acre parcel of Whitefish high school land. The estimated cost of the facility, landscaping and four year start up maintenance costs is approximately $1.7 million, all of which is being privately funded. The Center is expected to open in 2017.
CSE is the product of an idea started by students and teachers. The idea has grown dramatically, driven by the School District and members of the community… another important instance of the community supporting the schools while looking for new ways to create better citizens for life after school.
The curriculum highlights of the experience-based learning center are as follows:
Working directly with community partners, students will learn about energy consumption, energy modeling and technologies, green building practices, and strategies for reducing the community’s carbon footprint.
Through hands on inquiry, students will learn about healthy food systems, sustainable farming practices, agriculture production and research, soil science and more. Students will plant, produce and harvest food to be used in the District’s cafeterias and shared in the community. In high school, students will have the opportunity to participate in internships in commercial production facilities, greenhouses and ranches in the local community.
Partnering with local forestry related companies, the U. S. Forest Service, and the National Park Service, students will learn about the growth, health, composition and quality of forests. Students will use geographic information systems and other tools to research and apply forest management and water quality improvement techniques.
Students will learn about our natural resources … land, water, soil, plants and animals … and focus on how management of our natural resources affects the quality of life for present and future generations. Students will examine how waste is created and track personal consumption. Working with local organizations and businesses, students will help develop strategies to use resources more effectively.
Students will learn the economics of these critical areas, working with local businesses on researching market trends and needs, and applying sustainability principles to all facets of business practices.