supporting Cambridge public school students

CSV Launches Summer Pilot

a body of water in upper right corner of image, and about 9 students and adults are also in the image, loosely gathered around a white tub with water in which a large tadpole is visible. Most are holding notebooks and pencils and some are drawing.

Art & Science in One (AS1), CSV’s only outdoor program, earned recognition for outstanding environmental education from the Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) in May. CSV was one of eight nonprofit organizations across the state honored with an EEA award. CSV is currently seeking new volunteers for a summer edition of the program (Application materials here; register here).

View photos of the program in action here.

five pairs of adults and children are spread out in a pine grove with water in the backround
Click on the photo to go to the full gallery of photos of the program.

“The environmental programs and educators honored today provide hands-on learning opportunities in STEM fields that prepare their students for success,” said Governor Charlie Baker in a news release regarding the award. “Our administration is proud to recognize the dedicated Massachusetts teachers and nonprofit educators who go above and beyond what is required to get their students interested in studying energy and the environment.”

Six adults smile toward camera, some in business suits, a woman in a white shirt shows the camera a certificate.
At the State House on May 14, at the awards ceremony. Left to right, front: Erica Beade, drawing instructor for Art & Science in One/Art & Science at Compass; Julie Croston, CSV’s AS1/ASC program coordinator and director of recruitment and communications; Susan Grassey, upper elementary teacher, Tobin Montessori School; left to right, back: George Buckley, vice chair of the Secretary’s Advisory Group on Energy and Environmental Education (SAGEE), Kris Scopinich, SAGEE chair; Mass. Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Jeffrey C. Riley; and Secretary Matthew A. Beaton of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Photo: Jennifer Fries

AS1 brings a full classroom of elementary students to Fresh Pond every spring for a series of nature journaling sessions. Student are coached and mentored one-to-one by trained CSV volunteer mentors.

“My students gain a lot from this program both academically and personally.”— Tobin Montessori School Upper Elementary Teacher Susan Grassey

“​The level of engagement of the students is high and the relationship building with their adult volunteer is something that not all children are exposed to​,” says Susan Grassey, the Upper Elementary Montessori teacher who has hosted the program every year to date. “​My students gain a lot from this program both academically and personally. It is awesome to see a student who is not really an artist develop observational and drawing skills through the mentoring they receive from their adult volunteer.”mentor and student at body of water drawing

AS1, which will be called Art & Science at Compass (ASC) in its summer iteration, focuses on building basic science practices and sparking interest in science at a key juncture in early adolescence.

“Strengthening environmental education in our schools is crucial to our students’ future successes in STEM fields, and our state’s economy.”—Commonwealth of Massachusetts Education Secretary James Peyser, at the EEA awards ceremony

Art & Science at Compass offers a unique opportunity to volunteer in a Cambridge Public Schools program outside of the school year. A single classroom of fourth-graders will participate this summer. The Summer Compass program, sited at Tobin Montessori School, enrolls CPS elementary school students of all abilities and provides a field experience for Lesley University student teachers mentored by experienced educators.two mentor-student pairs work indoors with notebooks Two hours of training is required for CSV volunteers, with instruction provided by longtime AS1 drawing instructor, science illustrator Erica Beade. The program begins on July 24 and meets for a total of four sessions, each two hours in length, on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. To read more about ASC or to register as a volunteer, visit