We lead by example
Green River Preserve is a Green America Approved business. At GRP, sustainability is infused into everything that we do. With our mission to inspire the next generation of environmental stewards, we understand that it is our duty to lead by example as an organization. We tackle this in three different ways: education, practice, and investment.
Educating our community is at the forefront of our sustainability efforts. We strive to help our community build tangible habits and practices that they can take home with them and grow the rest of their lives. Some simple but effective ways we educate our community include teaching and practicing Leave No Trace principles, sharing our Environmental Tip of the Day, identification of native plant and animal species, and educating about the food cycle at our permaculture farm.
Leave No Trace
Our partnership with Leave No Trace provides campers with guidelines for low impact camping. We put these guidelines into practice every day during our mentor hikes and during our camp out programming in our two and three week sessions.
Environmental Tip of the Day
We utilize mealtimes to educate through theater. One of our daily educational moment over meal time is an environmental tip of the day where we give tips for waste, food waste, and water use reduction.
Native Plant and Animal Identification
The backbone of our educational programming is our mentor hike where campers walk the land with seasoned naturalist mentors. We take great care in teaching native flora and fauna species and, in turn, we activate curiosity in our campers as they become more attuned to their surroundings.
We LOVE our GRP farm, and we love having the opportunity to share the joy of farming with our campers. Participants get the opportunity to plant and harvest vegetables, interact with the animals on the farm, and learn about permaculture. Joyfully connecting campers to the source of their food creates the possibility of lifelong, sustainable, farm to table eating.
We walk the talk in many ways at Green River Preserve. Three practices that make us proud are our farm to table program, the conservation easement on property, and the development of our composting system.
Farm to Table
We work hard to create a rich, hands-on experience for campers to learn about and participate in where their food comes from. A mentor hike to the farm teaches permaculture techniques of farming and general livestock care. The food our farm produces with the harvesting help from our campers is eaten all season long in the lodge, on our salad bar, and at our Farm Feast every fall. Our farm to table program is one of the many ways we practice sustainable leadership.
Approximately 85% of the land Green River Preserve is protected by a conservation easement. This easement was completed in 2006 through an agreement managed by the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy and the Clean Water Management Trust. This protects the Green River watershed and its inhabitants, many of which are endangered species of plants and wildlife.
At Green River Preserve, we have always valued the benefits of a composting system. Thanks to our dedicated farm manager, we have recently built a hot compost system where we send a majority of our food and paper waste. Because of this process, we are able to re-use more food waste than we send to the landfill. All of the compost byproducts are then used directly on our farm, closing the loop of food production.
In the fall of 2021,the Board of Directors approved 1% of all funds from summer camp tuition towards sustainability improvements starting in 2023. During the summer of 2022, we hired a sustainability intern to assess our impacts and write up recommendations for investment. Check out this graphic below to see some of our plans moving forward and read the full sustainability report and recommendations here.