Green Roof and Apiary
Also known as a "living roof," a green roof serves several purposes for a building, such as absorbing rainwater, providing insulation, creating a habitat for wildlife, and helping to lower urban air temperatures and combat the heat island effect. Germantown Academy's green roof is situated on top of the Roberts Family Library and Technology Center, which connects the Alter Middle School and McNeil Upper School.
The green roof provides an opportunity for long-term, hands-on outdoor experimentation, including inquiry-based learning about the habitat provided for plants and animals along with investigations to determine how stormwater runoff, temperature, and energy use are different from a traditional roof. ~ Becky Pizzino, US Science Teacher
The roof also houses an apiary, or beehives for honey bees. Maintained by Upper School Science Teacher Becky Pizzino and students in the Apiary Club, there are two colonies of bees on the roof. One is a Langstroth hive, which is comprised of stacked boxes of comb that hang in frames. The other is a Thomasville hybrid hive, which is like a boat on legs with bars of comb that hang down from the top.
The hives are checked at least twice a month in the warmer seasons, to make sure there is plenty of brood (bee embryos and larva) and food, as well as no parasite infestation. We do not use chemicals on the hives and try to use as little smoke as possible when we open them to inspect. The colonies took quite a while to develop, as the first batch of honey was not harvested until almost two years after the hives were installed!
When you think of beekeeping, you think of one person standing around a swarm of bees, but in actuality, beekeeping at GA has been a great communal experience, and it has taught me about collaboration and giving back to the environment. ~ Lily Horner '15