Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


August 29, 2013

Thriving anew

Bloom returns to Andover High's sustainable garden


Even that proved to be a challenge, however.

“Not only are there a million clubs, but when you start a club in the middle of the year as opposed to the beginning when you have club sign-ups, that made it that much more difficult to get participation,” Knowles said.

Then, a benefactor came into the picture, inquiring about what type of resources were needed to see the garden thrive.

“The Andover Garden Club said, ‘Maybe we could help,’” Knowles said.

Andover Garden Club member Tina Girdwood, who also serves on its Environmental Awareness Committee, said she saw an immediate need at the garden.

“With any garden, you need equipment — especially when you have a lot of kids over time using the equipment, you need to replace it from time to time,” she said. “There were certain expenses they had and the Garden Club was anxious to help out with the project.”

The club donated $1,000 to get the garden back on track last spring.

As spring turned to summer and school gave way to vacation, students in the newly formed gardening club stuck around and dug in with the volunteers and newly acquired tools.

Buoyed by the donated funds, the student gardeners donated the food they grew this summer to area food pantries, Cutler said.

The start of the new school year this week will mark the return of the curriculum tie-in for the sustainable garden, she said. The environmental science class will be offered for ninth- and 10th-graders once again.

“They’ve got enough students to run one or two sections, so we’re excited to have that back in the curriculum,” Cutler said. “And the garden will be built back into the curriculum again so it will be tied into what students are learning in class.”

The garden is now turning a corner to “when it is most powerful,” Cutler said, “when students are learning about sustainable agriculture in the classroom and able to do the work in the classroom.”

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