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The Putney School in southeastern Vermont is a private high school that emphasizes creativity, leadership, and sustainability in its curriculum. What’s most notable about this institution, however, is its approach to education. Putney students don’t just learn intangible theories inside the classroom. With the school located on a dairy farm that’s operated by pupils and staff, students also spend class hours in the natural world to gain hands-on experience. In fact, it’s a requirement for graduation.

At The Putney School, students work on the farm grounds, in the woods, and in the organic gardens, where 30 percent of the school’s produce is grown (the rest is purchased from local sources). Projects include building solar cabins and solar water heaters, collecting maple syrup, and participating in the annual Harvest Festival. The Putney School was designed to maintain a low carbon footprint, and here, sustainability truly is a part of daily life.

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