Ecology Club continues quest to expand school garden


Stephanie Jamilla, senior

Senior Josh Feldman prepares soil for the school garden, a project that took off in May 2014.

In a series of recent efforts to help promote and expand the school garden, Ecology Club entered a video “Why Have a Garden” into One Earth Film Festival, a contest hosted by Green Community Connections, an organization based in Oak Park, Ill.

“We entered the video contest last year and won. We thought we could do it again this year so we gave it a shot,” said senior Josh Feldman. “The winning prize is $200, so that would help with our efforts to promote the school garden.”

As seen in the video, a locally grown garden has a variety of different benefits for those consuming it. It reduces possible cancer-causing herbicides, decreases growing costs because you just have to purchase the initial seeds.

“We want people to understand that growing a garden is very possible with a little effort. Gardens have tremendous benefits as we explain in the video,” Feldman said.

The Ecology Club finally made ground on the project last May and it immediately made positive effects. The school lunch system began to use the herbs in the lunches they make for students every day.

“It’s exciting to see the students work on a project they care so deeply about,” said Ms. Lopez, Ecology Club sponsor. “The criteria for the contest dictates that students must create the video and edit themselves, which is why I am very proud of both videos.”

The first video, What Will You Do?, has been shown numerous times by the One Earth Film Festival, and included footage shot from various countries that club members took. The members created the original video to promote awareness of transportation choices.

“Ultimately, the club members want to spread awareness of what sustainability truly means,” Ms. Lopez said.

This isn’t just a local phenomenon, however; sustainability causes and community gardening is up 200 percent since 2008, according to the video. This includes 44 percent of US K-12 schools that are participating in the USDA farm to school program.

“I would say that while one person’s habits won’t make a giant difference in the global fight, it is the collective habits of many people that will add up,” Feldman said. “In addition, your individual habits can make a huge difference in your own life and health. It is very important for our generation to be conscious about these issues as they will affect us throughout our entire lives.”

With the school garden making a huge impact, Ecology Club has a few more projects in the works.

“We have two main projects coming up,” Feldman said. “We are starting to plan our Earth Week events which will help educate and involve students in sustainability. We also plan on expanding the garden. In addition, we just finished a Christmas light recycling drive.”