Environmental Club starts school garden cleanup

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photo by Alexis Madlang

Freshman Sydney Schmidt weeds the plant boxes. The Environmental Club met on Sept. 1 to begin cleaning up the school garden.

The garden between buildings 6 and 7 was once filled with mint, basil and thyme, but when the Environmental Club arrived there for their second meeting, it was filled with weeds and spiders.

On Tuesday, Sept. 1, the club met to weed and clean the school garden. Last year, the plant boxes contained fully grown crops, but the club returned this school year to find the plants in bad shape.

“Over the summer, we didn’t get the opportunity to come to Hagerty and start weeding the garden again and keep it consistent,” club president Haven Ziegler said. “When we came back our plants had been cut so a couple of them died.” 

While in the past the garden had grown herbs and other vegetables, like peppers and tomatoes, it often went unnoticed. The garden was previously run by the culinary department, but was used less in recent years.

“When I came in, the garden was not very well maintained,” sponsor Janessa Hartman said. “There were a lot of weeds, so what we decided to do was just to come in to clear a spot for anyone to be able to plant what they need and kind of have a space for things to grow”.

As the garden receives more attention during its renovation, many do not realize how long it has been on campus. The area was first used in 2017 as a butterfly garden, but the current plant boxes were created by former AP Environmental teacher Marc Pooler.

The Environmental Club made progress on Tuesday, but that was only the beginning of their garden cleanup. They have planned to continue weeding and preparing the garden for planting and hope to start growing crops again this semester.

“This year we’re planning on planting all sorts of new vegetables and herbs,” Ziegler said, “Hopefully we’re going to be able to create a big enough harvest so that maybe even the culinary classes can have use for it.”

While the garden has been overlooked in the past, the club hopes to bring it back to life as the administration permitted them to take control of the plants in partnership with the culinary program.

Our goal was ultimately to work with the culinary department in order to provide fresh produce that can be used in their program,” Hartman said, “as well as teaching the students that are part of this club how to basically grow their own food from scratch, and to learn about caring for the planet and how to make a better environment.”

The Environmental Club’s next meeting is Sept. 7 at 2:30 in room 6-109.

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