Green Schools in Neptune
Neptune's commitment to building and operating Green Schools has drawn attention from across the United States. Facilities are often the initial focus of “green” programs and Neptune has much to be proud of in that arena. Summerfield Elementary School was the first LEED Gold public school in New Jersey, the unique SummerWood environmental learning center is now in use, and the Midtown Community School has set a new standard of excellence.
What is more important, however, is what goes on within those wonderful spaces. Here, too, Neptune is leading the way in development of “hands-on” environmental science curricula – an ongoing effort supported by entities such as the NJ DEP Division of Parks and Forestry, Project Learning Tree, Project Wet, Liberty Science Center and the New Jersey Audubon Society.
Summerwood is a natural area adjacent to the new Summerfield School. With construction of the new school, planners focused their attention on this large tract of underutilized land. In highly suburbanized Neptune, this expanse of natural land had been preserved by township ownership and NJDEP Green Acres enrollment, but was serving no active function other than right of way for sewer lines. Yet, SummerWood has enormous potential as an educational resource for the school district and passive recreation for the community.