As much of the Midwest suffers through an extended summer heat wave, we would like to take a minute to reflect on the way one Wabun parent helped us go green and beat the heat that blazed up north this summer.
The map room is a busy place when sections are in base camp. Staff use the map room’s resource books, marked topographical maps, and archive of trip reports to schedule trips and plan routes. There is always an in-camp staff on hand to lend input, and Robin and the kitchen staff make sure to have the coffee on. It is a welcoming and cozy space. But in June and July, cozy is not always what you want. The heat of the afternoon sun blazes down on the tarpaper roof warming the temperature in the map room above that of the temperature outside. What to do?
The kitchen is an equally busy space. Robin and the kitchen staff spend much of the day grilling up bacony-y breakfasts, sautéing delicious dinners like chicken pesto pasta, and baking all sorts of delicious dessert treats. Robin has several garden plots growing on the island and incorporates fresh veggies and herbs into many of the meals she prepares. With at least one oven on, usually one stove going, and a dishwasher to boot, the kitchen can get pretty steamy! What to do?
Enter Paul Mankiewicz. Paul is the father of Wabun staff Phoebe Mankiewicz Paul visited Wabun at the end of the 2012 season, felt the heat of the map room and kitchen, looked at the structure of the building, took into account Robin’s green thumb, and looked up. The roof. Here’s what he did.
In July of the 2013 season Paul returned with bins of plants, bags of his patented Gaia soil, loads of energy, and a plan. By creating a rooftop carpet plants, Wabun could utilize evapotranspiration to stabilize the temperature of the soil and insulate the roof allowing for a cooler map room and kitchen. Another bonus, Robin’s airlifted gardens get 100% sun exposure out of the reach of hungry critters meaning more fresh produce for us all!
We started the project with about 40 square feet of garden and have plans to expand for the 2014 season. A big thank you to Paul and to all of the campers and staff who took part in the project, it was an awesome learning experience. Marg and Dick who are on the island continue to harvest fresh veggies and shared with us a few photos of last night’s “Garden Island” salad! Looking forward to seeing the project grow next year!