Lower school students launch gardening initiative

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Even in the rain, lower school students stay after school for a late gardening session of transplanting plants and weeding. [ABBY CHANG/THE BLUE & GOLD]

Abby C. ('24)

At TAS, it can be easy to focus on the glamorous upper school programs. The musical has a brightly lit stage, and the robotics competitions have the Tech Cube. But we often overlook the smaller moments (and people) on our campus in the Lower School. Recently, the lower school Green Club, a group focused on helping the environment, launched its first project of the year: gardening for the cafeteria.

The club is led by lower school teachers who volunteer their time and efforts into making the Green Club a safe and educational place. The Green Club strives to “raise awareness about being green,” Lower School Mandarin Teacher and Club Sponsor Ms. Clarabelle Lin said.

The club consists of 30 students, each with different objectives. “Some of the students just love to be outside of the classroom, while other students want to be indoors,” Ms. Lin said. As a result, sponsors focus on initiating two types of projects: planting in the lower school garden and indoor art activities.

Ms. Brianna Pannell, a Lower School Librarian, is one of this year’s sponsors for the Green Club. She is in charge of the gardening section, which is comprised of 12 students. This year, the club aims to provide the cafeteria’s salad bar with hand-grown vegetables, such as tomatoes, greens and herbs by January.

“When [students of the Green club] go to the cafeteria, we are hoping that they will be able to see the food being served to people and they will know that they had a hand in growing that food,” Ms. Pannell said.

The lower school students are currently learning the basics of gardening. The students are preparing the garden by weeding and learning about insects that are harmful for the plants, as well as learning the process of transplanting plants. “They [are starting to understand] the connection between how food is grown and how it is made,” Ms. Pannell said. Meanwhile, the students who choose to stay indoors are working on art projects to spread greater environmental awareness. One of the projects invites students to speak about the environment through short recorded messages. The interactive website “Earth Speakr” allows other

students and teachers alike to access the videos and listen to the students’ messages. “Creating art is something that allows you to feel a sense of achievement,” Ms. Lin said.

Ultimately, the Green Club educates students about the environment through fun activities and projects. “We always have fun,” Lower School Art Teacher and Green Club sponsor Mr. Ramses Youssif said. “It makes me happy that there are a lot of kids who do care about our world.”