At New Branches, we believe students should have the opportunity to be responsible citizens in caring, respecting and learning about the environment.

The environmental focus begins in Preschool and progresses and builds upon knowledge of Michigan’s natural resources, environmental concerns and being stewards of the Earth.

We have recently hired our first Environmental Science Specialist, Kate Hasenbank, who will be working with teachers and students to infuse environmental studies into everyday learning.  Each student will spend one class period per week in an Environmental Science time.  Mrs. Hasenbank has earned a Master’s degree in Science focusing on Environmental Studies.

  • Every classroom offers environmentally focused lessons such as: weather, ecosystems, landforms, climate change, recycling, energy, and water quality. Click here to view all monthly themes >
  • Students have the opportunity to work together in our new garden and learn the food cycle from farm to table.  They will learn how to prepare the soil, plant, water, measure growth, harvest, and prepare food from crops.
  • Students will work with community organizations like Groundswell to learn more about the environment and how they can give back.
  • Water recycling: Rain barrel water collection is used to water the school rain gardens.
  • Learning Excursions: Students have the opportunity to participate in learning excursions through grade level field trips in Michigan, e.g. Grand Rapids Recycling Center, Kent County Waste Water Treatment Plant, Blandford Nature Center, The Bunker Nature Center of Calvin College, Frederick Meijer Gardens, The Grand Valley Science Research Vessel, The W.G. Jackson docked in Muskegon, MI.


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In February, sixth graders visited West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science to explore the great outdoors. There, they tapped for maple syrup, and counted tree rings. They finished their day by roasting marshmallows and hot dogs around the fire.