By Brian Hertz (Sustainability Coordinator)
April 22nd is the official Earth Day, but here at GFC, Earth Night was last Saturday. After eating outside at our normal Saturday evening cookouts, all of our Niviim, Kohanim and Melachim campers spent their evening traveling through our Environmental Funhouse. At each stop along the way, the campers participated in activities that helped them explore environmental issues. Let’s take the tour!
Our first stop is the sunny and windy Energy Room. With our spotlight as a blazing sun and our Big Ass Fan as a giant wind turbine, our campers were immediately introduced into two of the most popular forms of alternative energy. Our campers watched a cool video on Solar Powered Highways, and discussed the future of energy.
Next stop was the Dirt Room, where campers learned facts about all that stuff under our feet. They played Dirt Trivia, learning that it can take 100 to 500 years to create just one-inch of soil, and other information. We can’t forget about our snack! Our campers crushed Oreos and mixed them with chocolate pudding and gummi worms for a delicious Dirt Cup. That’s definitely my favorite part of Earth Night!
After eating their delicious dirt, our campers headed to the Israel Room. Here, the campers had a chance to learn about the ways that Israelis are tackling local environmental issues and also building a strong Reform community in the Negev. They learned about Kibbutz Lotan and their Green Apprenticeship program as well as about Kibbutz Yahel, the first Reform Kibbutz in Israel. GFC is proud to have two staff members from these Kibbutzim, Shahar “Sheki” Cicelsky from Kibbutz Lotan and Nuphar Shary from Kibbutz Yahel. These staff members spoke of their experiences of growing up in Israel and answered questions about their Kibbutzim. Resident Sustainability Guru Jessi Swann was also around to answer questions about her own experience at Kibbutz Lotan before the summer.
The next stop was in the City/Pollution Room. One of the smallest rooms on camp, the Kita Bet was littered with paper and plastic bottles, and noisy with the sound of city vehicles and sidewalk chatter. Sound familiar? Our campers were challenged with playing games and moving around in this small space, while battling with the sounds of the city to be heard. After the activity, the campers discussed issues facing cities in America and abroad including pollution and overpopulation. All of the paper and bottles were, of course, recycled at the end of the program.
Our last stop was the Water Room where the campers learned about one of the easiest things that they can do to be “green”: turning off the water when they brush their teeth. Campers participated in a live comparison of the amount of water that can be saved by turning off the water and learned about the importance of conserving water. Water is an issue that is particularly important in Israel, so this was another place where we reviewed our connection to Israel.
After all of our rotations were complete, we were joined by our Kibutznikim as we headed to the Beit Knesset for an All-Camp Havdallah service. We made sure to arrive around 8:30, just in time to watch the sunset. GFC is known for having beautiful sunsets, and we wanted to make sure that on Earth Night we took a special moment to appreciate the natural beauty. We were sure to read the blessing for watching the sunset and all of the wonders of creation. Campers from the Sustainability Limud wrote readings about appreciating the environment and nature.
Finally, our Melachim and Kibbutz campers watched an excerpt from the Discovery series “Planet Earth”, before heading back to the campfire for some environmentally-themed campfire songs including Reduce, Reuse, Recycle by Jack Johnson!
It was an incredible night of food, fun and lots of learning about the Earth.