On Friday, November
5, 2010, Rockway Middle School students who'd been invited through the Recycling Club, Science class, and FACS class joined
together after school to build the Rockway Middle Spice Garden.
The Recycling Club, in coordination
with the Science Department, had researched different types of gardens and decided a spice garden would be the most useful
and interesting type of garden for Rockway Middle. The FACS teacher, Mr. Leal, then had provided guidance on what type of
spices would be most useful for his students.
So at 4 pm on Friday the students gathered together to build the garden. Students
coordinated gathering the supplies--paper, netting, borders, organic soil and spice plants--and brought them to the preselected
garden site. Students then, with the guidance of Ms. Trompeter, Recycling Club sponsor, and Ms. Rengifo, Science Department
Chair, marked out the space. Then, they began the process of actually building the border, students each taking turns so that
all got a chance have a hands-on experience of construction. They then fixed the paper and netting into place and the garden's
foundation was in place.
Now the dirty work could really begin. Students dug in, filling the border with soil that they broke
up with their hands and spread out to make a home for the new plants. Once the new earth was ready, students--with parents
now looking on--selected a plant. They dug a hole for it, tore off the bottom of the biodegradable peat pot that was then
mixed with the dirt in the garden, and finally placed the plant in its designated spot, patting the life-giving soil firmly
but gently into place.
The garden was in place.
The students, knowing how important cleaning up can be to the environment, then sorted what materials
were left over into recycleable and nonrecycleable materials and placed them in the correct bins, leaving the new garden and
surrounding area clean, clear and soaking up sun.
Building a garden is a one-day activity, but having a garden is a committment. As
such, students help care for the garden each day either through their science class or after school to make sure it is watered
In a few weeks, once the garden has fully taken root, the students will reunite to add a few more plants and to celebrate
the join of knowing their continued efforts have brought a little more spice to Rockway Middle's already dynamic life.