Waldsee Blog 

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Umweltfreundlich: Eco-Friendly Living at Waldsee

Published: October 1, 2019

German-speaking countries place a huge emphasis on protecting the environment and try to be as umweltfreundlich (environmentally friendly) as possible. In comparison to the United States, people there tend to drive smaller cars, use public transit more frequently, recycle more, and use less electricity. We also try to make the Umweltfreundlichkeit (environmental friendliness) a priority at Waldsee and make sure that everyone has an opportunity to get involved.


We incorporate aspects of German Umweltfreundlichkeit into daily life at camp, such as Mülltrennung (trash separation). Every building in Waldsee has four different-colored Tonnen (trash cans), a blue one for Altglas (glass), one for Plastik und Verpackung (plastic and packaging materials), one for Altpapier (paper and cardboard), and one for Restmüll (other trash). It is common for homes in German-speaking countries to have multiple trash cans like these in order to create a more efficient recycling program in the countries. We also have a robust composting program at Waldsee, and we make an announcement before each meal about what on the table is kompostierbar (compostable).

Sie lernen wie man den Müll in Waldsee trennt

One of the coolest buildings at Waldsee is also the most environmentally-friendly. The Biohaus is North America’s first certified Passivhaus (passive house), which uses consumes little energy and takes advantage of alternative energy resources, such as solar power for heating. There are strict requirements to qualify as a Passivhaus, and we love having the Biohaus as a place to learn, cook, and live sustainably. Click here to learn more about the Waldsee Biohaus!

2009 Waldsee Biohaus

Over the last year, Waldsee has planted 500 trees across 800 hundred acres owned by Concordia Language Villages, making Waldsee a carbon-neutral campus. Our 500th tree was planted on the last day of our summer session by LKT Grüne Welle, our high school credit nature program. We celebrated by singing some of our favorite Waldsee songs about nature, like Alt wie ein Baum and Wie schön. Each Haus (house) hung a nature- or forest-related poem on trees around the Marktplatz by famous German-speaking poets like Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.


Start practicing your Mülltrennung skills now in preparation for Summer 2020! We can’t wait to see you, whether it’s your first time at Waldsee or coming back after decades for our Alumni Weekend, July 17-19!