Gesher JDS is much more than a building. We are using our beautiful heavily wooded natural surroundings – an unparalleled large tract of land in this area – to develop “Gesher Green,” a unique, hands-on ecology-based model for Jewish learning.
Outdoor Learning Stations
Four habitats, as well as an abundance of wildlife, can be found on Gesher’s campus. Our wetlands and vernal pond are home to many different reptile species. The Native Meadow features floral plants and an abundance of insects. The thickets provide shelter for numerous species of birds, as well as rabbits, and our forests house a diverse range of wildlife including turtles, deer, fox, and snakes. The downed trees in our forests also host a multitude of different fungi.
Having all of these diverse habitats on our campus enables Gesher to provide its students with hands-on interactive ecological learning experiences. The outdoors at Gesher is a classroom unto itself.
Our Elementary classes each have their own garden plot to care for the soil, plant and water a variety of vegetables, herbs and flowers. We work to cultivate a more passionate, compassionate and sustainable future driven by Torah values.
Every classroom has a recycle bin for paper, glass, hard plastic and cardboard. In addition, we also recycle inkjet cartridges, glue sticks, metal and batteries.
We are researching how best to start a composting program.
The environment is a focus for three Jewish holidays each year. They are Sukkot (a traditional harvest holiday in the fall), Tu B’Shvat (called the “birthday of the trees;” it is the original Earth Day) in the winter, and Shavuot (the grain harvest holiday) in the spring.
Seasonal Nature Walks
PE classes frequently hike in our forested areas to give students the opportunity to learn about nature in an experiential way. Students learn navigation, animal/plant identification, stewardship, tracking, survival skills, and trail maintenance during these outings. These hikes are included in Gesher’s PE curricula, and they reinforce students’ thoughtfulness and reliability in the outdoors.