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Sustainability in the Curriculum

Teacher and students work in greenhouse

NMH’s academic sustainability courses ground students in a deeper understanding of their role in at least two of the three elements of a sustainable system (social well-being, economic prosperity, and environmental health).

The following sustainability courses empower students to become more informed and conscientious global citizens of a changing world. There is no requirement to be met; only an opportunity. NMH strives to make sustainability accessible to all students at all levels of study through these courses, in addition to the Collaborative Curriculum Project (which brings campus operations into classroom study), the annual cross-curricular Food Systems Teach-In, and many other individual classroom projects.


  • ENG 453 Senior English: Literature and the Environment 

  • REL 111 Humanities I: Introduction to Religious Studies 

  • HIS 211 Topics in World History 

  • Humanities II: International Perspectives
  • HIS 473 New Zealand History 

  • REL HIS 457 Global Inequities and Climate Change
  • REL 426 Theology of the Oppressed: Voices from the Margin 

  • SOC 412 Economics 
  • IND 890 The Rhodes Fellowship Course in Social Entrepreneurship 
  • ENV 411 Environmental Studies 

  • ENV 415 Environmental Studies: An International Perspective 

  • ENV 419 The Science of Farming 

  • ENV 511 Advanced Placement Environmental Science 

World Languages
  • FRE 411 French IV: Contemporary Issues in the French-Speaking World
  • FRE 421 Honors French IV : Contemporary Issues in the French-Speaking World
  • FRE 511: French V: Advanced Placement French Language

NMH Collaborative Curriculum Projects

Each year, NMH sponsors a collaborative curriculum project. Developed jointly by a teacher and a member of the operational staff, each project offers students an opportunity to see classroom theory embedded in the practice of campus operations and gives them a deeper understanding of the systems that sustain us.

The project started as a collaborative effort between the institutions of the Eight Schools Association and was funded by an E. E. Ford Foundation grant. Recent projects are listed below.

  • Wastewater Calculus: Wastewater plants provide an incredible backdrop for students studying Calculus, helping them to understand what derivatives, integrals, and optimization problems mean in a real-world context. This module was designed for Calculus by teacher Abigail Ross and Utilities Manager Everett Wickline. Read the course's final report.
  • Heads, Hearts, and Hands — Connecting Religious Studies with Agrarian Contexts: this learning module was part of a "Humanities II: International Perspectives" course. Students connected classroom learning, which covered Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, with practical learning on the farm, to experience the agrarian contexts of the religions. Read the course's final report.
  • Digital Design: Students explore graphic design and branding concepts, with NMH branding as the subject of study. Taught by Pam Lierle and Harry van Baaren of Communications, and Lauren S. Corwin of Visual Arts. Read the course's final report.
  • “Who’s Gonna Stop It?”: Environmental Ethics and the Curious Case of the Radium Girls: Created by Elizabeth Patterson (then theater program director) and Tim McKinney (environmental safety coordinator). Read the project’s final report. Read a news story about this project.

  • Conversations with Objects: Transcendence of Place Created by Jen Keator (Humanities I teacher) and Sara Karz Reid (archives). Read the project’s final report. Read the news story.
  • Greens for a Day: Created by Mary Hefner (Science of Farming teacher) and Erin Kassis (then NMH farm co-manager) Read the project’s final report. 

  • Digestion and Nutrition Unit: Created by Craig Hefner (Human Physiology teacher) and Carrie Quimby (assistant director, dining services). Read the project’s final report.

  • What Does it Take to Feed a School? Created by Eleanor Conover (Video as Visual Art teacher) and Jennifer Sutton (writer/content editor, communications).

  • Historical Perspective on the Global Food System and Its Impact on NMH: Created by Sean Foley (World History teacher), Rich Messer (director of dining services), Liam Sullivan (then NMH farm director), and Peter Weis (archivist). Read the project’s final report.

A bird's eye view

Taylor King

My philosophy is: Fail early, so you can eventually succeed.

Nhu Hoang

My philosophy is: Fail early, so you can eventually succeed.

Gretel Schatz, Director of the Dance program, instructs a dance student.

I want dance students to engage their own memory and intellect.

Mary Hefner

I love teaching AP Bio. The kids are highly motivated.


“The best thing about NMH is the connections you make.” 


“NMH challenges students to innovate and persevere while keeping in mind the effects of our actions on the community."


“This community gives me the resources to grow as a student and discover passions I never knew I had.” 


“I am confident in myself and my abilities to succeed, thanks to NMH.”


"I love the freedom I have to explore what I am passionate about."


"NMH gives us space to experiment and gradually to grow into ourselves."


"I noticed how welcoming everyone was when I first came to campus.”


“The first step to excelling at NMH is embracing your own individuality.” 


“I appreciate the bond faculty and students have at NMH.”


"The community at NMH is unlike any I’ve ever known, and for that I am grateful.”


"NMH allows me to be myself in the classroom and ensures I am an articulate, curious, and courageous student.”


“I was initially surprised by how relaxed, yet academic, the environment is."


"The curriculum here is hard, but it’s the right amount of hard."


“The academics are extremely rigorous, but because of the way teachers present things, it’s like, ‘I have school today!’”