To shape students who are intellectually, spiritually, and responsibly engaged with the place, community, and world they call home.
The Purple Martin has special significance for the Episcopal School of Nashville. Recognizable by its rich iridescent color, the martin is a neotropical migrant, annually embarking on a 2-3 month journey from North America to South America. Traveling by the thousands, the birds stop on their way south to roost and raise up their fledglings. One of the largest collective nesting roosts in the area was discovered in 2010 right near our urban campus, a roost estimated at 50,000 or more birds.
As one of the earliest spring migrants in Tennessee, the arrival of the Purple Martin has long been a source of inspiration and wonder for residents here. Bursting with song on wings both daring and graceful, the birds marked the welcome start of spring for local Native Americans who hung gourds to house these long-distance travelers. Colonial settlers, too, formed a kinship with these seasonal visitors who helped protect their crop by eating insects and scaring away crows. Over time, Purple Martins have come to trust humans implicitly and are now the only bird species to rely almost solely on human-constructed housing. In return, we humans marvel at the martin’s agility in flight, its sense of community in roosting, and its boisterous joy in song.
We at the Episcopal School of Nashville are no different. In learning more about their behavior, we have discovered that Purple Martins feed their nestlings 50 or 60 times per day, wholly devoted to giving their young the nutrition they need to survive the journey awaiting them. It is a level of devotion we admire and one to which we aspire as we raise up the children in our school with love and learning, teaching them to soar with minds and spirits uplifting.