BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - In the first collaboration of its kind, the Berkeley Heights Environmental Commission (EC) is partnering with Governor Livingston High School (GL) to host the first annual Tree Walk and Rain Garden Talk on Thursday, April 26 at 11:30 a.m., at Governor Livingston High School in Berkeley Heights. The event, which is open to the entire Berkeley Heights community, will begin outside of GL’s main entrance.  The event is being held on the same day as Bring Your Child to Work Day, which occurs just a few days after the weekend of Earth Day 2018. 

Lara Mendenhall and members of the AP Environmental Science class that she teaches at GL will be the event tour guides. The event is intended to be both educational and fun, giving parents, young children, nature enthusiasts, and everyone else the opportunity to learn about the natural environment and sustainable ways of preserving it, while also enjoying a stroll in the outdoors during this approximately 30 - 45 minute interactive experience. 

“We are so proud of the many sustainable features we have been able to bring to Governor Livingston High School’s grounds,” said James Finley, Supervisor of Science, Art, and Computers for the Berkeley Heights Public Schools.  “This unique event offers the community an opportunity to take a tour of GL’s beautiful campus while seeing and learning about the many environmentally friendly installations and improvements in place.  It also offers our students a creative way to showcase and share their knowledge with local residents.” 

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The Tree Walk and Rain Garden Talk will include GL’s rain garden that lies between the school and the school’s front parking lot, including a brief educational talk regarding how rain gardens work.  A rain garden – also known as a stormwater garden – helps to reduce the amount of water runoff and decrease erosion by using plants native to the area to act like sponges, soaking up water through their roots and returning water vapor to the atmosphere.  Notably, the EC partnered previously with GL to install this rain garden 

Other sites on the tour will include GL’s outdoor classroom spaces, as well as 25 trees – each with their own unique QR Code so that people can use their smart phones to view and track annual data on each tree.

According to EC member Kim Diamond, “We are thrilled to partner with GL for this unique event.  It offers an excellent means to promote community education and outreach.  The information attendees will receive will help them to improve their sustainability literacy, as well as enhance their awareness and understanding of the need to incorporate sustainable behaviors into choices they make.  We hope that those attending will be able to apply what they learn, so that they can improve the environment surrounding their own homes.”

A second tour is currently in the works for this June.  More information regarding the specific date and time will be forthcoming shortly.