Our tradition of deep connection to nature is finding new expression as we remake our campus into a model of sustainability.

Deep regard for the great outdoors has always been at the core of who we are—walking the trails at dusk, scaling a climb you thought impossible, mucking out a horse stall early in the morning. Today more than ever, living sustainably is an essential part of that ethos. Thacher strives to be a leader in sustainable practices and to equip and inspire our students to take action, develop bold solutions, and act as lifelong stewards of the planet.

Indeed, Thacher has been named a Green Achiever in the California Green Ribbon Schools recognition program, the highest honor at the state level, and went on to earn an official designation as a 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School alongside other sustainability-minded schools from around the nation. Both programs recognize excellence in resource efficiency, health and wellness, and environmental and sustainability education.

Our Projects

List of 11 items.

  • Solar Array

    Thacher's 2,898 panel, 745 kilowatt system generates more than 90 percent of the School’s electricity, about 1.22 million kilowatts per year. Click here for a live dashboard showing current and historical power production. 
  • Green Cup Challenge

    Every February, Thacher’s 220 boarding students shorten showers, dim lights, lower thermostats, and recycle more trash as they vie for the title of greenest dorm. This friendly competition empowers students, builds community, and raises awareness about climate change and the importance of resource conservation.
  • Hog Program

    Several generations of well-tended porkers have completed the loop in our community’s food cycle by feeding on Dining Hall food scraps and eventually becoming food themselves. In addition to reducing waste, this program affords students a crucial firsthand glimpse into food systems.
  • Beekeeping

    Thacher’s student-powered Beekeeping Program supports a healthy, productive colony of local bees that pollinate campus plants and have supplied the community with more than 90 pounds of honey.
  • Horse Manure Composting

    Thacher recently completed construction of a manure and food waste composting facility, funded in part by the Will J. Reid Foundation. Instead of trucking the 1,200 tons of manure produced annually by Thacher’s 130 horses off campus, we compost it on-site for use as mulch on our pastures, fruit trees, and landscaping in order to slow soil erosion, build soil organic matter, improve plant health, and reduce water usage.
  • Water Conservation

    Water conservation is an imperative in the Ojai Valley. Along with targeted water conservation projects, Thacher has partnered with Banyan Water to adopt a total water management program. Our joint efforts, which garnered the 2018 Environmental Leader Product of the Year award, have generated a 56 percent reduction in annual water use from 2013 levels. Water conservation projects include, low-flow devices installed in dorms and faculty homes, upgraded irrigation systems, selective watering, and the use of greywater from our dormitory laundry machines to irrigate trees (saving up to 550,000 gallons of water annually), a new water-conserving athletic field at Upper Field, and the Banyan water usage monitoring system.
  • Rainwater Catchment

    A generous grant allowed Thacher to host a greywater workshop for 30 technicians from all over California. The class’s practical project was the design and installation of a 5,000-gallon rainwater harvesting system for half of one of the barn roofs. The program expanded with a catchment system added to the Los Padres sophomore boys dorm, and plans to install rainwater harvesting systems on every Horse Program area roof, which, with just a 3-inch rain, have the potential to collect all the water the Horse Program uses in a year (600,000 gallons).
  • Community Outreach Program

    The Environmental Action Committee (EAC) is committed to connecting, collaborating, and exchanging ideas with other schools and environmental organizations in the Ojai Valley and beyond. Through the Community Outreach Program they’ve scheduled beach clean-ups, organized creek-bed weed eradication, adopted a section of the Ojai Bike Path, and more.
  • Transportation Fleet

    Thacher made changes to its transportation fleet in an effort to significantly increase energy efficiency. The School partnered with Enterprise Fleet Leasing and Maintenance Services, leasing a new fleet of SUVs and two pluggable hybrids. By leasing rather than owning, Thacher can regularly upgrade to the most recent, high-mileage SUV models, cutting down on the amount of fuel used. In the same vein, the C-Max Energi hybrid vehicles have improved our fuel efficiency from 13.9 mpg to 32 mpg. For the same fleet miles driven, the changes represent just over a 50 percent reduction in transportation greenhouse emissions.
  • The Swale

    The 2012–13 Kumana Prize-winning student team made it their goal to rejuvenate Carpenter’s Orchard, an increasingly desiccated six acres on campus that were being used for horse paddocks. This student effort helped establish runoff protection needed to allow the broadcast of compost from our new manure composting project. The first compost was spread in May 2015.
  • Chickens

    Students and faculty built the campus coop that is now home to a brood of 17 healthy hens. The chickens diet includes surplus scraps of food from the Dining Hall and they, in turn, provide fresh, sustainably-produced eggs to the community every week.  

—Sustainability Coordinator Juan Sánchez

Thacher strives to be a leader in sustainable practices and to equip and inspire our students to take action, develop bold solutions, and act as lifelong stewards of the planet.

Sustainability Mission Statement

Deeply rooted in its heritage of valuing the teaching power of the outdoors, The Thacher School is committed to fostering in its community members a lifelong respect for nature and the environment. Aware of the significant environmental challenges the world faces in the 21st century, Thacher strives to be a leader in sustainable practices and to equip and inspire its students with the tools they need to be good stewards of the planet.

Consistent with this mission, The Thacher School seeks to:

  • Integrate respect for nature and the environment in all aspects of School life
  • Teach, practice, and encourage sustainable living of the entire Thacher community—students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni
  • Reduce the generation of greenhouse gases by utilizing natural resources in the most efficient possible way
  • Reduce, reuse, and recycle water, food, and other waste
  • Develop educational programs for students, faculty, and staff that emphasize individual responsibility and leadership to foster ecological sustainability and environmental health as well as personal health
  • Through our programs and example, create a positive impact for sustainable living for our neighbors in the Ojai Valley and beyond

Sustainability Projects Campus Map

Sustainability News

Notice of nondiscriminatory policy as to students: The Thacher School admits students of any race, color, national, and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the School. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national, and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other School-administered programs.