The theme for Bethlehem Children's School (BCS) for the 2009-10 school year was"Waste Not, Want Not". As a graphic example of sustainability and recycling amplifying the theme plus reinforcing the Green School philosophy and concept, the Recycled Plastic Bottle Greenhouse became the BCS project. A Greenhouse Committee was formed and it was they that received a GE grant for the building of the greenhouse along with a team of volunteers assisting with the project and participating in classroom instruction and activities.
Delmar architect, Jeff Chaney - a LEED Coordinator, drew up renderings and plans for the construction of the greenhouse. Parents (Annette Gallo spearheading the effort from the BCS's PTSO group), faculty and outside volunteers interacted to round-up (Hannaford was instrumental in setting up bins at stores), collect and clean the bottles (1,500 are required for the 'cells'). Various "cleaning parties" were set-up principally by Roberta Sandler from the Greenhouse Committee during the summer with GE volunteers in attendance.
Actual construction began the end of September delayed severely by the devastation of Hurricane Irene with completion of the structure slated for late October. It is expected that this greenhouse will be the prototype for another model constructed almost completely from recycled materials. We now will have a physical focus on environmental education emphasizing the 'growing greener' philosophy. Unique in the region, our Recycled Plastic Bottle Greenhouse will be shared with other like-minded schools, organizations and communities through a manual we are creating. Come visit!
Carl Gutman, reporter of this story, is a Board Member of Bethlehem Children's School and on the greenhouse committee. For more information about the school or this project contact Ralph Fahnestock, Director of the Bethlehem Children's School. Ralp can be reached at email. Please take a look at our school's website.