Education

Montclair Kimberley Academy Celebrates Earth Day with Opening of New Green Roof

Tom Nammack, Headmaster of Montclair Kimberley Academy, officially opens the Green Roof that serves as a unique learning experience for the students and the entire MKA community. Credits: Bobbie Peer
Tom Nammack, Headmaster of Montclair Kimberley Academy, with teachers and Sustainability Coordinators Ben Rich and Laura Zimmerman. Credits: Bobbie Peer
The sedum plantings and recycled glass provide insulation to the Academic Center. The solar tubes allow sunlight beneath to reduce the use of artificial lighting. Credits: Bobbie Peer
The planters were constructed by students and some contain pollinator plants that attract bees, butterflies and humming birds. Credits: Bobbie Peer
The Sun Dial will be used by the Astronomy Class. Credits: Bobbie Peer
The Weather Station uses the WeatherBug APP, part of a network of weather stations that spans the globe. Credits: Bobbie Peer
The Academic Center, a project involving the renovation of the library along with 3,800 sq ft of new space including an Idea Lab and Offices. Credits: Bobbie Peer
Credits: Bobbie Peer

MONTCLAIR, NJ - Montclair Kimberley Academy (MKA) is a buzz with activities this spring involving their K through 12 students and their new Green Roof that boasts spectacular views of the New York City skyline. The Green Roof officially opened on Tuesday, April 18 in time to celebrate Earth Day at their Upper School campus on Lloyd Road.

"MKA is a great place to grow," said Ben Rich, Science teacher and Sustainability Coordinator for the Upper School at MKA, who explained how the new space of the Green Roof serves as a unique learning experience for the students and the entire MKA community, providing a plethora of curricular and resource savings benefits.

"We are committed to leading the way among private schools in terms of sustainability and efficient use of our resources," said Rich. "The Green Roof demonstrates this leadership and provides us with incredible space to intimately experience nature in a densely populated suburban environment."

Sign Up for E-News

The Green Roof is perched on the roof of the new Academic Center, a project that involved the renovation of the existing library along with an additional 3,800 square feet of space.  The combined $7 million project was funded by a number of sources that included grants from the Hyde and Watson Foundation, as well as a $50,000 matching grant by E. E. Ford Foundation which was matched by alumni, parents and administration, said Tom Nammack, MKA Headmaster.  "This will be a real magnet for the school, K through 12," he said.

Nammack said the idea for the Green Roof was inspired by a visit to the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation in Morristown. The foundation houses a LEED Platinum facility with interesting design features. "We were captivated by their rooftop garden," he said. "The Board of Trustees felt that we should create an education space with the new roof on the Academic Center."

MKA recently received their LEED Silver Certification which is the most widely used green building rating system. The LEED components to the Green Roof include a weather station that utilizes the WeatherBug app, providing regular global reports from the roof; garden beds; classroom space; a vegetated roof of sedum plants and recycled glass that adds to the insulation in terms of heating and cooling; solar tubes that bring sunlight inside the Academic Center, reducing the need for artificial lights; and the white roof reflects the sun's light and heat from the building to conserve on air condition usage.

The Silver Certification not only saves the school money by using the building for energy conservation, the roof gardens and vegetation also help the surrounding community by reducing storm water runoff. "The rain falls on the roof, the soil and plants absorbs the water which reduces the storm water runoff," said Rich. "This allows us to interact not just with our own community but with the surrounding community."

Many Green Roofs are passive and are designed solely to insulate the building and the sedum to absorb the water and sunlight, said Rich. The MKA Green Roof not only involves LEED components, it also has many interactive features for students and visitors to use as a learning environment.  

Laura Zimmerman, MKA Middle School Science teacher and Sustainability Coordinator, said the weather station collects current weather data through the WeatherBug App that can be downloaded. Students use interactive modulars on their iPad to track weather data globally and across the area, while the youngest of students can check the app for the barometric pressure to determine what to wear. The weather station at MKA also has a camera that shows the weather at MKA and can be seen from any computer or smartphone.

Zimmerman explained how the students have been involved in the design of the garden boxes and built the planters made from FSC certified wood.

"The students planted pollinator species to help the bees, butterflies and hummingbirds," said Rich. "There has been a great bee die off recently. This demonstrates to students and parents how we connect to the local ecosystem and to the world around us."

Rich also explained that specific planters are being used to test genetically modified plants compared to organic. The students are also experimenting with nutrient variables to test how plants adapt to different levels of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium and how it affects the growing process.

Each of the schools will participate in the design of murals and paintings to leave their mark and be involved with the space, said Zimmerman. 

MKA administrators, teachers and students are encouraged to use the roof for performance art, photography, astronomy, yoga, relaxation and for pure enjoyment.  

About Montclair Kimberley Academy (MKA): Montclair Kimberley Academy is a school of thought that turns inquiry into insight. They intentionally foster balance in students' lives so they can develop their infinite potential in and out of the classroom. Embracing a contagious go-for-it attitude; students confidently try anything on their distinct educational adventures, guided by faculty who love to learn and live to teach. As diverse as it is united, their community is strengthened by a commitment to good character, and together they celebrate each student's success, individually defined. MKA is located in Montclair, NJ. 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Like

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

TAPinto Berkeley Heights Directory of Advertisers

TAPinto Berkeley Heights is locally owned and operated. We are able to provide you with original, objective and always FREE local reporting of Berkeley Heights news and events thanks to our advertisers. We encourage you to patronize our advertisers and tell them you saw their ad on TAPinto Berkeley Heights:

Adams Fine Clothing, 908-665-0800

Allstate Insurance, Lori Cicali, ...

Help with Daily Tasks is Available to Eligible Union County Residents

August 19, 2017

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders reminds residents with permanent physical disabilities that they may be eligible for assistance under the Personal Assistance Services Program, a statewide program designed to foster independent living.

“The Personal Assistance Services Program has been making a meaningful difference in the lives of Union County residents for more than 30 ...

One Simple Step Can Guard against a New Phone Scam from Callers Claiming to be a Social Security Employee

There is no summer vacation for phone fraud, and the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders advises Union County residents to be aware of a new scam circulating around the country.

“The Social Security Administration has issued a warning about a caller who poses as an employee in order to extract social security numbers and other personal information,” said Freeholder Chairman ...

Solar Eclipse Viewing Monday August 21 at Trailside Nature and Science Center

Residents looking for a good place to observe the Solar Eclipse on Monday, August 21 are invited to do so at Trailside Nature and Science Center in Mountainside from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Trailside is located at 452 New Providence Road in Mountainside.

An eclipse happens as the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun as seen from our location on the surface of the earth. When this happens, ...

Union County Surrogate Warns Residents on EIN Scam

Union County Surrogate James LaCorte cautioned residents to avoid online companies that charge fees of up to $250 to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

“An EIN must be ordered directly from the Internal Revenue Service, and there is no fee,” said Surrogate LaCorte. “I am issuing this warning because it has come to my attention that there are some services ...

Safety Tips for Monday's Solar Eclipse

August 18, 2017

BRANCHBURG NJ - The public anxiously awaits Monday's solar eclipse.  It will be the first solar eclipse in the United States since 1979.  Safety is extremely important for all eclipse viewers.  Kevin Schindler, Planetarium Associate and Technician at the Raritan Valley Community College Planetarium offered TAP and its readers some expert advice.

"Never look ...

Tips for Safely Viewing the Upcoming Solar Eclipse, and a Bit of History

August 17, 2017

NEW JERSEY – The United States will be experiencing a solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21, which New Jerseyans can view partially– if the weather cooperates.

If you lived in one of the 14 states the eclipse is crossing with its 70-mile wide path, you’d be all set.

But if you utilize safety glasses to view the event between 1:23 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., and most especially at 2:44 ...

Berkeley Heights Republican Muncipal Committee Chair Responds to Faecher Stepping Down from Ballot

August 18, 2017

To the Editor:

The Berkeley Heights Republican Municipal Committee was notified this week that due to a significant change in his employment responsibilities and commitments, Marc Faecher, sitting council member, has requested that the County Clerk remove his name from the November General Election ballot for Township Council.   Marc and Jeanne Kingsley won the June 2017 primary as ...

Dear Susan: Beauty Tips from a Beauty Expert

SUSAN BARBAGLIA, owner of Skin Deep Salon and Spa in New Providence, offers a wealth of knowledge and expertise as a leader in the beauty industry. With over thirty years experience in skin care, Susan can answer your most challenging beauty questions. Email your questions to advice@skindeepsalonspa.com.

 

__________

Dear Susan:  I love the ...

Achieving Well-Rounded Perfection

Ah, the always tricky student resume.  The part of college applications that make students question whether their innate interests are worthwhile.  I get endless questions about not only how to design a student resume but more specifically what activities students should be sure are on there.  It seems crazy that we’re willing to model what are meant to be ventures of ...

Berkeley Heights Council President Marc Faecher Withdraws Name From Ballot Due to Corporate Change

August 18, 2017

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - In a letter issued by Berkeley Heights Council President Marc Faecher on Friday, August 18, he announced that he is stepping down from running for his second term for Township Council on the Republican ticket due to a change of his corporate responsibilities with TRC Companies Inc.

Faecher is a Senior Vice President for TRC Companies ...

Going Off to College? Get Vote-by-Mail Ballots on Time By Registering Now, County Clerk Says

UNION COUNTY, NJ - College students and others who plan to be out of state are being encouraged by the County Clerk to apply now for a vote-by-mail ballot.

“Exercising the right to vote is always important, and in this election cycle New Jersey voters will decide on a new Governor for the first time in eight years,” said Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi in a statement. “Make ...

Honored to Be Endorsed By an Organization That Supports Women and Their Choices

August 11, 2017

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I am honored to announce that today, in Trenton, Planned Parenthood of New Jersey endorsed my candidacy for State Legislature. Before a pink-clad crowd, I proudly stood alongside Democratic candidate for Governor Phil Murphy; Assemblywoman Liz Muoio and Assemblyman Troy Singleton as Christine Sadovy, Legislative and Political Director Planned Parenthood ...

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous – How Do You Compare?

If you’re like most people, you’ll admit to some fascination with how the Rich and Famous live. Despite their relative wealth, they’re very human in terms of their strengths and weaknesses – specifically how they spend money, how they invest and how they give it away. Here are two Rich and Famous people who typify some of the best and worst lifestyle characteristics: ...