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The Urban School
of San Francisco
1563 Page Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
415 626 2919

Environmental Education and Sustainability

The involvement of the entire Urban community of students and adults in environmental education and sustainability has moved beyond turning down unused lights, using paper on two sides and serving organic food (although we do those things as well). In keeping with our core value of instilling in students a sense of mission and purpose as citizens of the larger community and the world, our curriculum includes a focus on ecological literacy and scientific knowledge that is taught across all disciplines. In addition, Urban students, faculty and staff have the opportunity to participate in clubs and committees that are focused on day-to-day issues of ecology and the environment. It’s our goal to ensure that we impart a clear understanding of the role each of us plays in creating a positive outcome for our community and our planet.

Environmental Sustainability in the Urban Curriculum

In addition to the mastery of subject matter, our goal is to emphasize making connections between different parts of our human experience and our environment. An ecologically literate Urban student has not only a basic comprehension of ecology, human ecology and concepts of sustainability, but the ability to grapple with the problems and tensions that will inevitably arise in the practical application of an idealistic pursuit. 

Our aim is to have this eco-mindedness reside in every Urban student and for them to draw upon their knowledge as they actively participate in determining environmentally sustainable solutions throughout their lives.

Marine Biology is a field course that examines a wide variety of life forms inhabiting the oceans and their adaptations to specific habitats.

UAS Environmental Science: Ecology introduces students to the principal concepts and processes that operate in ecological systems

UAS Environmental Science: Physical Resources explores the complex relationships between humans and their environment.

Geology is a field course that introduces students to the causes and effects of different earth processes.

Economics aims to understand economics as an area of study wholly interrelated with politics, jurisprudence, social justice, moral philosophy, culture, technology and the fabric of everyday life.

UAS The Naturalist as Writer investigates and invites human reflection on nature and acquaints students with the voices and themes arising from the literature of environmental consciousness.

California Studies attempts to comprehend the immense political and economic complexities involved in water use and distribution in the State of California.

Staff/Faculty Programs

Environmental Council

The Environmental Council is a group of Urban students, teachers and administrators whose mission is to promote awareness, leadership and action around issues of environmental stewardship of the school. The Council was established in the fall of 2008, an outgrowth of one of the goals the schools's strategic plan, Vision 2013: Creating a Sustainable Future. The initial focus of the Council has been on institutional practices and measuring the school's carbon emissions using the Campus Carbon Calculator. In the spring of 2010, the Council established a goal of achieving a LEED EBOM (Existing Building Operations and Maintenance) rating.

Student Participation

Green Team
The Green Team is a student group that aims to analyze and shift Urban’s institutional practices toward greater environmental sustainability. The group focuses primarily on addressing physical/plant sustainability, rather than how sustainability is addressed within the curriculum.

Gardening Club
The Garden Club is a student organization that maintains the Urban backyard vegetable garden and shares with the student body the greater environmental awareness that comes with understanding where one's food comes from.

Urban Sherpas


Geoff Ruth

Academic Dean
415 626 2919 x506

Monique Perry
415 626 2919 x507

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