Learning Is in Our Nature

Sustainability, the environment, and the outdoors play an integral role in the KUA experience. Our location in the Connecticut River Valley makes us an ideal home base for outdoor recreation and experiential learning in a natural setting. Weekend canoe trips, backyard explorations in the campus pond, or all-school trips to the top of Cardigan Mountain are part of the campus culture for all levels of experience.

On Campus Programs

List of 6 items.

  • Kimball Union Academy's beekeeping club teaches environmental awareness.

    Beekeeping Club

    The Beekeeping Club was launched in 2016 as the outcome of a student's senior capstone project on the cultural entomology of insects. The apiary now consists of 3-5 student and faculty hives used to learn the fundamentals of beekeeping. Between hive openings, we repair and build new equipment and learn about bee ecology, management, and health.
  • A senior capstone project brought a wind turbine to Kimball Union.

    Charlotte's Windmill

    Among the first campus sustainable energy efforts, our 15kW wind turbine was the product of a senior capstone project by Charlotte Herbert '11. Through her fundraising efforts with classmates and friends of the school, it was erected in spring 2013 and continues to generate electricity year-round.
  • Farm Team

    The KUA Farm Team practices sustainable agriculture on campus.  Students raise hogs and chickens, construct animal housing, tend a hydroponics greenhouse, and raise seasonal field crops. The Pork Project is our flagship program. Food waste from the dining hall is fed to pigs, offsetting up to 15 tons of CO2 emissions annually and generating a positive cash flow for the club. Farm Team data are incorporated into the science curriculum, and the team's work helps raise community awareness about sustainable food production.
  • Green Team

    The Green Team works on environmental awareness, planning, and action for KUA.  This student-driven community action group is determined by the priorities of students who choose to take the initiative.  Recent undertakings have focused on the intersection of environmental sustainability and social justice.  The Green Team hosts speaker events, evaluates campus practices, and works to educate the community about issues.
  • Adventures for all abilities is available through the Kimball Union outing club.

    Outing Club

    The KUA Outing Club is an afternoon activity that creates opportunities for students to explore and enjoy the outdoors through on- and off-campus adventures at all levels. Canoeing on the Connecticut River, overnight trips, hikes, and backyard explorations are a few of the many events the club undertakes each year.
  • Solar energy is part of KUA's sustainability efforts.

    Solar Energy

    KUA's 220kw solar energy plant, comprised of panels on roofs and in fields, is a central part of our commitment to environmental sustainability generating around 16% of campus electricity needs and providing first-hand learning experiences for our students.

Outdoor Recreation

List of 6 items.

  • Students hike Kimball Union Academy's trails.

    Trail Networks

    An extensive network, including the campus “Potato Patch” and land to the north east, offers maintained and groomed trails on approximately 50 acres used by Kimball Union’s Mountain Biking, Nordic Skiing, and cross-country running teams and connect directly to the main Pope Fields athletic complex.
  • Kimball Union offers activities on some of New England's best mountains.

    French's Ledges

    At the center of the Meriden Trails lies French’s Ledges, a small rocky summit that offers spectacular 360-degree views from Mt. Ascutney to the southwest, most of the Green Mountain ridge, the White Mountains, and the Meriden Valley. KUA land below the Ledges also has an established rock outcrop camp site with excellent views to the west. The trails access the former KUA ski hill.
  • Students and faculty utilize Kimball Union Academy's Snow Mountain for coursework and play.

    Snow Mountain

    Nearly contiguous with the main campus, the 700-acre KUA-owned Snow Mountain offers an extraordinary outdoor lab with opportunities for earth science, forestry, land-use, and wildlife management study.
  • Chellis Pond is an on-campus spot for year-round recreation.

    Chellis Pond

    Kimball Union's on-campus pond and adjacent wetlands serve as a ready-access outdoor biology and environmental field lab that is used by classes to study aquatic ecology and biology. It also hosts less formal activities like tug-of-war competitions across its width, canoe races, and pond hockey and ice skating during the winter.
  • Skiing and snowboarding in New England is a favorite Kimball Union Academy pastime.


    Located in the heart of Northern New England ski country, Meriden is within 15 minutes of two local ski hills, Whaleback Mountain and Storrs Hill (a training facility for the young Mikaela Shiffrin). Within an hour of campus are Mount Sunapee, Saskadena Six, Killington, Pico, and Okemo ski areas. Our Alpine and Freeskiing programs train at Sunapee and Okemo during the winter.
  • The nation's oldest bird sanctuary is a next-door neighbor to Kimball Union Academy.

    Meriden Bird Sanctuary

    The Meriden Bird Club was founded in December 1910 to advocate for bird protection in response to wasteful exploitation of birds for years for food, by egg collectors, and especially by a large feather trim industry for clothing/hats. In 1911 the Club became the first in the nation to own and maintain a sanctuary for birds. The 32-acre sanctuary sits adjacent to campus and offers several paths for walking through towering pines.