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A space in the natural world

Couple spearheads building of butterfly garden at Bnai Tikvah Beth Israel

Photo courtesy of Dee Lutz
Dee and Joe Lutz’s garden idea came to fruition with the help of volunteers and was built in two days.

Dee and Joe Lutz wanted to do something for their local synagogue, Bnai Tikvah Beth Israel in Sewell. That something is a new butterfly garden.

As someone who is certified by the Gloucester County Certified Gardeners, Dee’s idea for the garden makes perfect sense. Through the group, gardeners can spearhead projects in the Gloucester County area. Dee, who is also a Hebrew teacher, is a member with Rich and Lori Geiss.

“Rich and Lori have been working on local garden projects in the area, including the Victory Garden at Camp Salute (in Clayton),” Lutz noted. “We teamed up on this (synagogue) project and received a grant to build the garden.”

The garden – donated and built by volunteers – took a few months of planning and design. Its construction took two days, one for building the garden beds and one for laying pavers. There are two metal benches for adults and three child-size picnic tables built by Habitat for Humanity.

“It allows our Hebrew School to utilize an outdoor classroom space and for the synagogue congregation to use the space for community gatherings,” Lutz explained. “There are nine raised garden beds that we will plant with primarily native plants to benefit local pollinators. We will also be growing herbs and produce.”

Lutz said the garden allows her “to teach students at the Hebrew School and congregation members about native plants and growing your own food.”

“I wanted to provide the students with a safe space to enjoy and explore the natural world while creating a space that brings our community together,” she said. “With all the turmoil currently happening abroad, it seemed more important than ever to feel connected as a Jewish community.

“Our plan is to fill the garden with native plants in the spring to benefit local pollinators.”

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