Student Groups Create New E-Wing Garden
August 26, 2014
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The new garden in the E-wing, built with the effort of various student groups, is ready for enjoyment.
Starting last fall, the plan for the garden began to take shape. Senior Henry Hilton joined with Susan Price, a special education teacher on campus who had a vision for the garden. They met at Pride Pals, a community service opportunity for students on campus that meets during lunches to create art with special education students. Hilton and Taylor Fortnam, the latter a recent graduate of M-A, developed plans for the garden with Price along with other teachers Mark Leeper and Andrew Stuart. Throughout the process, other groups became involved, including Boy Scouts, Global Leaders, Price’s students, the Farmer’s Market Club, and woodshop. The garden has been recently opened to the public thanks to the help of 30 to 40 students and funding by the PTA and Global Leaders.
Originally, the area simply contained tan bark and one oak tree, until people realized the space had potential. Price hoped to create a garden for her kids to allow them to learn leadership through maintenance of the garden and to be able to take fresh food home. At the end of last November, students worked together to clear out all the tanbark using shovels and wheelbarrows supplied by the school. In March, the ground was leveled and the area was prepared for construction. By May, crews were brought in to help with the planter boxes, digging holes for plants, and laying out pathways. Price’s students have created beautiful mosaics as well.
Currently, the boxes within the black gated area next to the garden contain squash, zucchini, and a few other plants as a result of the hard work of those involved. The pathways are finished, art is hung on the walls, a fountain is the center point, and a bench surrounds the tree.
Hilton, who played a large role throughout the process recalls that the hardest part of the project was “putting together all of the different interests” and having the students and “work side by side.” He also admits that the most satisfying part was seeing “everyone working together for a common good to turn a bland, unused space into a beautiful garden for the special education class and the whole school to use.” Hilton also confirms that the garden will be an ongoing project as they plan on building rain barrels and a tool shed. In addition, a memorial bench commemorating Beatrice, a service dog of a graduated student will be put in place soon.
For students looking to get involved in a service project similar to the garden, Hilton recommends “find[ing] teachers and other people who are passionate about making change. Be sure to take initiative and step up, and you can do great things.” He requests that all students respect the garden as they opted not to have a hedge or fence surrounding it, unlike the other gardens at M-A.
To become involved with the garden, listen to the announcements for the Pride Pals meetings on Mondays.