A week at Meyer Academy in West Palm Beach, a program with every age group. We are blown away at the sophistication and ecological understanding of the children in each town we stop at, but especially so here at Meyer, near the hinterlands of Lake Okeechobee, where there already exists a robust schoolwide recycling program, kids are aware of drought politics and the need for water conservation, and are familiar with passive solar technologies in Israel. As we enter the lobby for the first time, we see on display an award winning science fair project : which can power a coke can sterling engine more efficiently, a parabolic reflector, or a fresnel lens? We’re in the big leagues here people…
I personally thought that getting people to care about the environment in South Florida would be difficult. I thought we’d be in the land of strip malls and SUVS. And while this land of canals is shopping centers is definitely car centric, we’ve seen a fair amount of hybrid Prius’ on the road, and spent a lovely shabbat walking around a waste treatment plant turned reclaimed wetland wildlife sanctuary.
We spotted dozens of nesting cormorants, anhingas, herons, and coots, and one of the largest american alligators I have ever seen in my long career of gator wranglin’. We saw snakes and turtles and a giant iguana. Most of the animals were sherbert colored. An incredible display of the utter iridescence of creation.
On a program this morning, we speak enthusiastically about this wetland, and kids sign our giant scroll, declaring their intention to play outside more, ride their bikes more, plant gardens, turn off the water.
We aren’t teaching anyone…the dots are already all in place, we are just connecting them with big colorful markers and an upside down bus. Giving these eager, alive, intelligent, awe-inspired young Jewish communities a giant YES!