By: Tiffany Huang
The MSJ Community Garden, a garden available for the MSJ community to visit and enjoy, is a project created by History Teacher Jeff Evans and the Service Learning Waste Reduction Program (SLWRP), which is a program organized by Evans that works on environmental projects at MSJ. The garden is located at the abandoned vandal watch site behind the E-wing, a safe, fenced-in area with little foot traffic. The project, which has been in the making for a few years, was officially started this year by Evans and a group of students during spring break using SLWRP funds and Mission Possible donations. The garden is open every morning and locked at the end of every school day.
The community garden was created using recycled or reclaimed material from the community as part of the ongoing effort to reduce carbon emissions. “The fun part of the project is seeing what we have on campus that we can re-purpose,” says Evans. Mulch and old fence posts, donated by the Fremont Fence Company, were used to build the flower boxes. An old filing cabinet holds mint, and a 55-gallon drum is used as a rainwater collector basin. The soil used to plant the flowers originated from the displaced dirt from the Legacy Brick Project.
The garden is currently managed by Evans and a team of approximately ten students, who water the garden daily. Volunteers are currently in the process of collecting more donations and laying down mulch to even out the land. Long term plans are in place to expand the garden; however, further development is limited by inadequate funding and volunteers.
The secluded garden is home to a variety of herbs and flowers and was created to provide a community garden for everybody at MSJ to enjoy. Teachers and students are encouraged to use the garden for their own purposes, from holding classes in the garden to appreciating the outdoors. “I think that a garden is not just a great place for students to enjoy the aesthetic qualities of it, but also for its learning purposes,” says Evans. “Anyone can come and help with the garden.” Potential volunteers may contact Evans at firstname.lastname@example.org.