Berkshire School is surrounded on three different sides by protected land, owned by either the state or The Nature Conservancy. The school’s main campus has 208 acres of forested land, 165 of which are conserved, and 205 acres of developed land. The conserved acres abut The Nature Conservancy’s property to the north. The school is at the base of a bowl-shaped watershed on the eastern side of Mt. Everett. Drainage here runs straight through the bowl and drains southeast through Glen Brook. After Glen Brook, water then goes to Willard Brook.
Most of the school’s land use is for education. The school taps into the water cycle via wells behind MacMillan Dorm and funnels all its grey water through a water treatment plant before releasing it back into the environment. The forested land, typical mixed hardwoods of white pine, hemlock, red oak, sugar maple, black birch, etc., is primarily used for education, sport (mostly through the Ritt Kellogg Mountain Program (RKMP), and recreation. Students actively participate in Berkshire’s forest management through science electives and independent study opportunities.
Berkshire School’s campus master plan includes sustainability at a high level. The grounds are developed and maintained in accordance with an integrated pest management plan. To manage the look and quality of the athletic fields, the school still uses mostly synthetic fertilizers, but is beginning the process of converting to organic fertilizers. Berkshire hires landscape architects from Stimson Associates for advice on sustainable landscaping. Native plants are given high priority in all landscaping decisions. All grounds keeping waste is kept on the property, by either being piled next to the school’s composting area and processed with food waste or composted by itself in a separate location.
All surface stormwater joins Glen Brook. As part of all new construction and major renovation projects, underground detention systems are built to mitigate stormwater runoff impacts. Stimson Associates helps to mitigate stormwater runoff impacts of ongoing campus operations through a variety of technologies which include swales, retention ponds, and/or porous paving.
Finally, the gravity-fed irrigation system that is utilized on campus has a timer as well as a moisture sensor. In the event the timer is activated and the moisture sensor is satisfied, the irrigation system will not turn on.