Greening Our Schools

Krieger Schechter Day School is going green and Kitah Zayin is leading the way! One of the criteria for becoming certified as a Maryland “Green School” is a habitat restoration project and the KSDS 7th graders have taken on the challenge.

Last spring, at the end of a week-long camping experience at the Pearlstone Center where they learned about environmentalism from a Jewish perspective, the students decided that they wanted to create a butterfly garden on the school grounds. They took the first step on September 4th, when they spread 10 cubic yards of mulch on a 30 X 30 area behind the “sport court” at the edge of the parking lot.

With help from faculty members and the 4th grade class, the 7th graders laid down cardboard rescued from the dumpster and then shoveled, schlepped, and raked to cover the entire area with mulch. By mid-October, just in time for Chol haMoed Sukkot, the site should be ready for planting.

To attract butterflies, the garden will feature flowering plants for nectar, such as black-eyed Susans, coneflowers and sedum. Butterflies also need the right plants for their caterpillars to feed on, so the garden will include plants such as milkweed, turtlehead and Dutchman’s pipe vines. The students have done research to determine which plants the butterflies need and to find varieties that are native species for this area.

Some of the shrubs and perennials will be planted this fall with more to come in the spring. Some Lower School students at Schechter are helping by growing black-eyed Susans from seeds in their classrooms over the winter and others are raising butterfly caterpillars to be released in the spring.

The design for the butterfly garden will be chosen from students’ submissions. When completed, the garden will include pathways and benches, so that it can be used as an outdoor classroom space or a spot for tefillah.