Mount Madonna School’s 10th Annual Summit for the Planet

Naturalist and wilderness advocate, John Muir, tells us: “Everybody needs beauty… places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul alike.” Many have found this sentiment to be true and Mount Madonna School (MMS), now in its 37th year, is just such a place.

You are cordially invited to come see and experience this for yourself. Please join us on Saturday, April 23 as we celebrate the 10th annual Summit for the Planet Walk-a-thon and Celebration, an environmental festival designed both as a fundraiser and educational event focusing on ecology issues.

Since its grassroots inception 10 years ago, this gathering has grown and continues to nourish, inspire and educate children and their families. It is the MMS community at its finest, as students, their families, staff, faculty and local ecology groups join forces to engage in a delightful and educational day focused on various aspects of the environment.

The MMS community thrives on a deep connection to the exquisite mountaintop campus setting and invites the public to come and share in festivities of the day. A 5K walk-a-thon course has been charted for anyone wishing to explore and enjoy the beauties of this forested wonderland. There will be local entertainment, exhibits, including student-designed solar car races, great, locally prepared healthy food, and booths hosted by local ecology-focused organizations. Part participants have included: Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center (WERC), Bay Area Amphibian and Reptile Society (BAARS), Allterra Solar, Live Earth Organic Farm, Sulphur Creek Nature Center, Santa Cruz Vegan Society, Bat Conservancy of Coastal California and the Coastal Habitat Education and Environmental Restoration (CHEER), which displayed its unusual mobile trash museum.

The environmental event started in 2007 with MMS science teacher Weston Miller who learned of the local and endangered Pajaro River. He made an impassioned plea for MMS to come together in creating an interdisciplinary curriculum for students Pre/K through grade 12, complete with a service component, which focused on the local watershed. It was a grand

success and connected MMS in a very meaningful way. A “Trash Fashion” show, comprised of students making use of recycled materials for their “runway” event, was added and the keynote speaker was then-Ocean Conservancy Executive Vice President Dennis Takahashi Kelso.

By 2009, MMS added a walk-a-thon as we realized that we wanted a fundraiser that more clearly reflected our school’s values of outdoor and environmental education and the importance of staying connected to our natural world. As a result, our “Festival for the Environment” was reborn as “Summit for the Planet.” We now had a wonderful invitation to extend to the larger community; people who never knew of our school, came up and were inspired by the educational resources, eco-centered activities and beauties of walking the mountain trails.

Now in its tenth year, the Summit for the Planet is the school’s keystone celebration of earth stewardship and community outreach. Our students join together as they “buddy up” in hiking the trails, designing eco-friendly carnival games, engaging in the Trash Fashion show, growing plants in their science classes to use as carnival prizes and having an altogether great outdoor adventure! Please join us!

Sarojani Rohan is the co-founder of Mount Madonna School’s preschool and kindergarten program and has always believed in daily walks in the woods! She is one of the original event planning team members and remains enthusiastically involved on the


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