In August, W. B. Saul High School, The Nature Conservancy, and the CH2M Foundation were honored with the US2020 STEM Mentoring Award for Excellence in Public-Private Partnerships as part of the 2016 STEM Mentoring Symposium at the White House.
W. B. Saul is the School District of Philadelphia's agricultural high school. Saul's 130-acre campus in Roxborough contains barns, fields, pastures, classrooms, labs, and a gym. The Collaborative worked with the high school in 2015 on a master plan to celebrate the school’s unique identity, add a teaching pathway and an outdoor gathering place at the school, add an outdoor learning space at the farm, and improve infrastructure to manage stormwater and farm waste runoff.
CH2M reports, "In December 2015, the CH2M Foundation awarded a $200,000 grant to The Nature Conservancy to develop a green infrastructure—a resilient approach to water management—and STEM education pilot project at W.B. Saul High School’s campus in Philadelphia. Throughout 2016 and 2017, CH2M engineers and Conservancy scientists will work directly with students and faculty to design and construct a green infrastructure project on the school’s campus to work to address stormwater quantity and quality concerns."
The Collaborative's master plan enabled W.B. Saul High School to apply—and win—the grant. The public-private partnership that followed was the focus of the award presented last month. W. B. Saul was the only school that came to the table with a master plan, proof that it had a comprehensive vision for using its campus as a teaching tool.
The volunteer team for the W. B. Saul master plan included design and engineering professionals from AKRF, Inc., James Patrick Dugan AIA PC, Jeffrey M. Brown Associates, LLC, Keast & Hood, LandHealth Institute, Meliora Environmental Design LLC, and Sikora Wells Appel.