Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Celebrating the Sun at Hannah Senesh

It wasn’t sunny by any means last Sunday, but that didn’t stop the Hannah Senesh Community Day School in Carroll Gardens from celebrating the sun with its Solar Fair.

Children and adults from the school and the surrounding community flocked to the fair, where they listened to sun-themed music, got their faces painted and made solar ovens and pinwheels. Recycled yogurt containers, used to plant sunflowers, were donated by the Park Slope Food Coop.

Master composter Marion Stein brought a worm composting bin and information from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden on composting, and representatives from solar energy advocacy group Solar One led workshops where children built small solar-powered cars (above).

Borough President Marty Markowitz took the stage to congratulate the school, which he called “one of the best, not only in the neighborhood but in the entire city.” He presented Nicole Nash, who is the head of the school, with a proclamation and declared that day “Solar Day in Brooklyn U.S.A.”

Every year, Hannah Senesh sends their students to Jewish environmental education institute the Teva Learning Center, said science teacher Lisa Ochs. This year, the school and the institute decided to put on the fair in celebration of Birkat Hachama, a Jewish blessing honoring the sun that is said once every 28 years.

Birkat Hachama takes place next Wednesday, April 8, when, according to Jewish tradition, the sun will be in the same place it was when it was first created.

Hannah Senesh took this opportunity to teach the entire student body about the power of the sun. “In February and March, every grade in the school has been learning about the sun and solar energy,” Ochs explained.

Sixth-graders made the solar ovens, seventh-graders built a bike generator — which would generate electricity when pedaled — and eighth-graders worked together to build a solar cell.

Children came in droves and packed into the gym at Hannah Senesh to learn about solar energy, sitting with rapt attention as they watched a skit put on by the Teva Learning Center. The performance explained where we get our electricity right now, and demonstrated how much more efficient it would be to use only solar power.

“The sun is sending enough energy every day to the [entire] earth to power all of the earth’s energy needs for a year,” Ochs said.

No comments: