Planting inspiration in youth for a sustainable future


Photo Courtesy of Jinno Vincencio

SUP sells succulents st lunch to fund for a new aquaponics garden

Nature provides beautiful gifts and allows us to work together to nurture the flowers that grow. The Special Ed Garden was created four years ago in order to teach special education students responsibility, work ethics and respect for nature. Gardening helps us grow closer to nature, and it is even better because we are able to help the environment at the same time.

“The goal of our garden is to teach our students about the nutritional and personal enrichment a garden has on a person’s life,” education specialist David Ferrell said.

“Gardening is such a great activity. It’s straight good therapy for anyone to get their hands dirty,” education specialist Andrew Marin said.

The Sustainable Urban Pioneers club (SUP) has been working with a non-profit organization, Harvest Craft, in hopes of turning the Special Ed garden into an aquaponics farm, an efficient technique used to grow fresh and healthy crops by encouraging urban agriculture through a self-watering and self-sustaining system.

The club held a succulent plant fundraiser Nov. 17-20 to raise money for its new project, including the use of a hydroponics system, which is a process of using water rather than soil for agriculture.

“Our main goal is to reach out to youth and tell them about environmental issues we have today [and] what you can do in your community,” senior and co-president Jinno Vicencio said.

Not only will the club members be remodeling the Special Ed garden, but they will also promote reusable water bottles by enhancing refill stations throughout the school.

“For our [special education] students, the direct application of scientific practices provides a clear understanding of how nature works and how it they can become more connected with the world around them,” Ferrell said.

“There were a lot of difficulties. Honestly, it’s a really unique field, I want to say, and not a lot of teenagers are very interested in this environmental and agricultural field,” senior and co-president Lauren Kim said. “We had to send out a lot of emails and a lot of letters to businesses in order to get donations.”

Despite these difficulties, the club members are striving to gather $2,000-$3,000 for the project.

As a means of raising money, they held another fundraiser Dec. 1-4  called Green Grams, which used recycled ornaments from mason jars. They collaborated with the art department for this upcoming event.