Living and Teaching a Sustainable Lifestyle

Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Steve Kahl

Sustainability has always been a part of Steve Kahl’s life – both professionally and personally. He founded one of the largest academic environmental chemistry labs in New England, the Center for Environment at Plymouth State, and created as many director positions for Environmental and Sustainability initiatives.

Now, Steve is an associate professor of Science at Thomas College, teaching technology, environmental, sustainability, and geology courses.

Personally, he’s practiced energy efficiency in his own home by installing two heat pumps and a hybrid hot water heater, insulated the house, and reduced his heating oil consumption by 90 percent.

“My commitment to a sustainable lifestyle is fundamental to credible teaching of the topic,” said Steve.

He loves sharing this love of sustainability with his students. Steve spends a lot of his time actively looking for learning opportunities outside of the classroom for Thomas students.

steve kahl

“Exploring and knowing Maine provides great fodder for all of my courses, and indeed I have explored and continue to explore the state from end to end and bring experiences from that exploration into the classroom,” he said. “I paddled 140 miles on the St. John River several years ago and have hiked most of the Appalachian Trail in the state.”

Steve often brings his students on field trips, ranging from finding obscure tree species in the woods on campus, to Thomas College’s energy-efficient installations, to how the campus manages its stormwater, to the water district, wastewater plant, local hydroelectric dam, Colby’s biomass plant, renovated old mills, and a local state fish hatchery.

Steve is so passionate about renewable energy and nature; but, the biggest reason he loves working at Thomas is the students.

“That is why we are all here,” he said. “Our students are always cheerful and so polite. They always hold the door open for people following them.”

Steve has also enjoyed working with his science counterpart, Joe Scozzafava.

“And, the positive nature of our senior administrators creates an atmosphere that is collegial and much appreciated, which has encouraged me, for example, to add eight new courses to the College’s catalog.”

 

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