Interlochen Arts Academy Agricultural Science students celebrate their certification through the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP).
Interlochen Center for the Arts has been awarded environmentally friendly certification in Farmstead, Greenhouse, and Cropping Systems through the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP).
Since 1998, MAEAP has functioned statewide as a voluntary organization that helps farms of all sizes to reduce soil erosion and minimize agricultural water pollution through the implementation of cost-effective and sustainable means. MAEAP certification is awarded to the top 5% of farms following an extensive application process and a rigorous inspection. Verification through MAEAP acknowledges an organization’s environmental stewardship and sustainable farming efforts.
“We are thrilled to be recognized for our sustainable and environmentally friendly practices,” said Interlochen Sustainability Manager Emily Umbarger. “When I first learned about MAEAP certification, it brought to light the various factors that have a significant impact on our local watershed. Every farm, including our own, affects the surrounding lands and watershed. That’s why it’s important for our students and the greater Interlochen community to understand why environmentally friendly agriculture is so important.”
Umbarger adds that this certification means that Interlochen, “[Follows] best practices around crop production, erosion control, chemical and pesticide usage, and recordkeeping in line with the MAEAP’s rigorous guidelines.”
The certification comes on the heels of Interlochen Arts Academy being named a Green Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education, an award that recognizes schools that reduce environmental impact and costs, improve the health and wellness of students, faculty, and staff, and provide environmental and sustainability education opportunities. Interlochen Arts Academy was the only school in the state of Michigan to receive the award this year.
Since 2016, when Interlochen Center for the Arts’ Board of Trustees pledged “to create an environmentally friendly and sustainable campus,” Interlochen has implemented institution-wide sustainability efforts, including the construction of a 100-foot composting facility, the installation of a high-efficiency dishwashing system, the introduction of single-stream recycling, the opening of a botanical lab and community garden, and unique course offerings for Academy students and the local community.