Sustainability, a buzzword in the corporate world, in government, and in schools, means securing a healthy and enduring human future through environmental stewardship. At Cannon School, we believe sustainable solutions inherently express our core values: courage, teamwork, respect, integrity, passion, and kindness. It takes courage and passion to change the status quo, as it takes integrity to be respectful of our environmental footprint. Students, faculty, and staff work as a team in various "green" programs around the campus and community not only for their own sake, but also for the character-building lessons environmental stewardship teaches all of us.

Cannon has a dedicated Sustainability Committee comprised of members from the faculty and staff across divisions and disciplines as well as US students. The committee's mission is to improve sustainability on campus and to educate our school community about environmental issues.

Some of our sustainable initiatives include:

Cannon is certified as a Schoolyard Habitat® by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). This program uses school grounds as educational sites for wildlife conservation and cross-curricular learning. Our campus has two dedicated, no-mow areas which create wildlife habitats, decrease air pollution, and decrease water pollution through reduced fertilizer and pesticide use. Bird houses in the natural areas enhance wildlife on campus. Cannon also has outdoor classroom space and access to the Coddle Creek natural area for science classes, after-school enrichment classes, and camps.

Our school-wide mixed recycling program drastically reduces the amount of trash sent to county landfills. In addition to bins collecting paper, plastics, glass, and cardboard, we also recycle batteries and ink cartridges. Cannon School celebrates America Recycles Day and Earth Day with programs, service opportunities, and a chance for students to dress to show their "green spirit."

In the school cafeteria, all waste is sorted by: compostable, recyclable, and landfill. The school uses compostable plates, bowls, and utensils to further reduce the waste that ends up in local landfills. Composting is taught through the grade levels through in-person talks and the use of student-produced videos. 

Water fountains throughout the school are equipped with bottle refilling spigots, allowing students to bring and refill water bottles reducing overall plastic bottle usage. Our newest water fountain station keeps a running total of how many bottles have been eliminated from the landfill. Located on the Middle School hallway, many students excitedly check each day’s new total as they walk between classes.

The Lower School and Middle School run a joint "Trout in the Classroom" project. The school is given approximately 300 eggs in September with the goal of raising as many trout as possible for a release at Stone Mountain State Park in May. The tank is located in the Lower School playground lobby, so students can observe the fish growing during the year. Several science teachers use the trout project as part of their curriculum.

Our Upper School AP Environmental students are leaders of sustainability on campus. Each student performs twenty hours of community service focusing on environmental issues. They collect recycling in the Upper School, and help maintain our natural areas and birdhouses. Two students, now alumnae, Avery Olearczyk and Bri Ratteé, even installed solar panels at the school that are used for educational purposes.

Cannon School has officially adopted Coddle Creek from the I-85 interstate bridges to the Poplar Tent bridge adjacent to Dorton Park, and continuing on downstream to the Weddington Road Bridge adjacent to Cannon’s sixty-five acre campus. The school conducts two cleanups each year in which student volunteers walk the entire adopted length, picking up litter, old tires, and car parts. The "Stream Watch" program is sponsored through the State of North Carolina. A formal report on stream quality is submitted to Stream Watch. Cannon is also an active participant in "Big Sweep" (managed by Stream Watch), which is a statewide waterways cleanup effort from the mountains to the beaches. Volunteers collect, describe, and weigh all trash, and report that information to the Cabarrus Soil and Water Conservation District.

We are also committed to reducing paper and electricity usage throughout school using educational and accountability programs. Coffee stations have no Styrofoam cups; faculty and staff bring in their own reusable mugs. Rain water is collected and used to water Gay's Garden. In the dining hall, all paper serving products are compostable, and the kitchen receives a percentage of their fresh produce from local farmers.

The Sustainability Committee and members of the Cannon community are always looking for more ways to reduce our environmental footprint. We believe that environmental stewardship is another lesson in integrity, respect, courage, passion, teamwork, and kindness.

Cannon School

Phone: 704-786-8171 | Fax: 704-788-7779