Drone footage courtesy of Zak Zaidi '21
Princeton Day School maintains a 600 square foot climate-controlled greenhouse in a courtyard across from the Upper School science labs. The greenhouse supports all three divisions and is home to a large rotating collection of plants for research and teaching.
Diverse plant collection representing many regions of the world
Hydroponic grow tower with lighting and timers
8’ x 2’ grow bench with lighting run by timers
Small classroom area
Stainless potting tables and rolling material bins
WIFI, Apple TV, and large monitor
80 gallon rain barrel for water sensitive plants
Rolling growing benches
Adjacent landscaped courtyard for additional plant display
Use of the greenhouse
PDS faculty use the greenhouse for study and research in evolution, ecology, sustainability, biology, plant neurobiology, language, fine arts, mathematics, and so much more. Classes visit the greenhouse and plant material is brought into other classrooms. Studying the mutualistic relationship between plants and animals allows the students to better understand their own role in a much larger ecosystem. All plants employ a diverse set of strategies for survival. The PDS greenhouse collection can give students some insight into understanding the impacts of climate change on plant survival. In early spring our Garden Coordinator raises over 600 seedlings for the famous PDS garden and wildly popular seedling sale.
Sample of Interdisciplinary Curriculum in Isaac’s Greenhouse:
LS Science Practical Mycology, food chains, food webs, and the roll of decomposers within those webs.
MS Science Plant Neurobiology: Do plants think? Mycelium, Periodic table unit and nitrogen concentrations impacts on nightshade plants.
US Science Evolution, ecology, biotech, flytrap energy, Wisconsin fast plant breeding for trait isolation, Mutalism, grafting, natives vs invasives, plant survival strategies, soil chemistry, physics, gravity, and graphing plant growth
Math Plant growth measurement, statistics and data analysis, Fibonacci and plants, Biomimicry and geometry in nature
Architecture, Photo & Art Negative space drawings, Botanic illustrations, Large format photo plant studies
3rd Grade Terrariums
4th Grade Writing - plant for life, math using the growth analysis of invasive species, growth of bean plant comparisons
MS Humanities Ancient grains and the establishment of agriculture
US English Poetry
US Latin/Greek Linnaeus’ botanical Latin, Roman pleasure gardens
Dance Stop motion video plant growth videos that inspire dances
US Spanish Impacts of climate change and cultural migration, plant gift to students
Matt Tramontana (STEAM) Automated vertical gardening watered by Arduino
The greenhouse is managed by Eric Rempe firstname.lastname@example.org.
Princeton Day School formally dedicated Isaac's Greenhouse and the Penny Wallace '69 Courtyard in a ceremony on October 28. The new greenhouse was made possible thanks to a generous donation by Randy Mehrberg and his wife Michele Schara, parents of PDS alumni Sam '11 and Eric '19, and is named for the son of Sustainability Coordinator Liz Cutler. Ms. Cutler's passion to develop the School's sustainability program, combined with Isaac's radiant personality, inspired the Mehrberg-Schara family. See the full story and photo gallery.
Happy throngs of PDS community members enjoyed delicious food and lessons in sustainability in the Garden and surrounding outdoor spaces along with tours of the new greenhouse and courtyard. This year's Harvest Festival theme, "Arts in the Garden," featured multiple student performances and student artwork in Garden areas and Kristy's Meadow.