Tu BiSh’vat begins tonight – Jews around the world will be gathering for seders to eat and drink, and celebrate to Earth, and tomorrow 1.5 million of trees will be planted in Israel.
While during this time of year we show reverence for the environment, the rest of the year we spend trying to save it. Jewish camps are doing their part to be environmentally conscious while teaching future generations what they can do to respect and repair the planet. Here are some new examples of what camps are working on:
Camp Judaea in Hendersonville, NC has a lot of eco-efforts in place! The camp grows and eats from a vegetable garden, has replaced almost all of their light bulbs with energy efficient options, composts waste, recycles, and has replaced all dining hall disposables with real plates, silver wear, and cups reducing their waste by 72% daily. Camp Judaea also teaches campers about sustainability and conservation regularly.
Camp Livingston in Bennington, IN uses only energy efficient lights, composts, and recycles even though the nearest recycling drop-off location is over an hour away! The camp also teach campers “leave no trace” camping and focuses a lot on ecology in their day to day programs.
JCC Maccabi Camp Kingswood in Bridgton, ME has an environmental science program during which campers work on gardening and recycling.
Camp Ramah in California in Ojai, CA offers campers a nature elective, a chance to learn about the Earth while camping out, and this summer has plans in place to start an organic garden.
Passport NYC in New York, NY is a program based around Tikkun Olam – repairing and healing the world – which includes participating in community service projects around the city. Last summer, its inaugural year, the campers visited a beach in New Jersey and Central Park to pick up trash. Passport NYC also encourages campers to reuse and recycle and this summer is aiming to use only biodegradable plates, bowls, cups, and cutlery during meal times.
Capital Camps in Waynesboro, PA has a recycling program and was one of the first “businesses” in the state of PA to participate in streamlined recycling.
Camp Avoda in Middleboro, MA is starting a vegetable garden program this summer in addition to ramping up their recycling efforts and using energy efficient light bulbs all over camp.
Camp JRF in South Sterling, PA is currently working on an Eco-Village which will open in 2012. This summer, campers will participate in the design and construction of it.
JCC Camp Chi in Lake Delton, WI recycles and will be running programming this summer about food waste. Camp Chi also teaches two key values to campers: Kevod Habriyot – honor God’s creations – and B’al Tashchit – do not destroy.
Shwayder Camp in Idaho Springs, CO is in the process of switching to on-demand water heaters which are more efficient and will allow them to only heat up the water that is needed. Shwayder also overhauled their waste water system, now a Sequencing Batch Reactor system. This means that water is pulled from the creek that runs through camp and used to process waste through a system of several tanks. By the time the waste is completely processed, the water that was drawn from the creek is drinkable and pumped back into the creek.
Stay tuned for more updates on camps’ greening efforts!