Facilitating Community Garden projects is one of my favorite responsibilities as an Ecology Teaching Fellow. During the winter months, I have been missing the Conserve School Garden and its role it has in our community. In the warmer seasons, the Community Garden at Conserve School brings our campus to life. Each day, in summer, early fall and then again in late spring, students and staff alike can find ways to contribute to the garden. Walking outside after school or on the weekend students and staff can be seen weeding raised beds, harvesting ready fruit, and vegetables, or winterizing the raised beds and apple trees. In response to the need for a space to work with plants and soil, especially in the winter, the Horticulture Lab was created. The Horticulture Lab is meant to provide a facilitated space for classroom projects, Conserve School community garden seed germination, our stewardship projects, and potential local public school community stewardship projects.
In the Horticulture Lab, there are projects continuing from last semester and new projects that are beginning this semester. As we transitioned into the harsher weather of late fall, students (CS17) transplanted lavender and rosemary from the community garden to the Horticulture Lab. This semester (CS18), I collaborated with one of the AP Environmental Science Teachers, Andrew Deaett, to facilitate a lesson on planting domestic plants in the Horticulture Lab. The goal of the lesson was for students to learn how to transplant a succulent, participate in a guided discussion of how soil is defined in the scientific community and in what ways “soil” and “potting soil” are similar or different. This spring, the Horticulture Lab will begin seed germination for our community garden!