While most Sundevils went home for school on Thursday Jan. 9, members of MC’s revamped Environmental Club greeted dirt, worms, and humility with open arms. After meeting with the Master Gardener Association of San Diego, the club constructed a native plant garden in the once-barren planters in front of the PAC.
A young group with high ambitions, Environmental Club coordinated with the red tape of school administration to start its first project as quickly as possible, as senior and club president Lisa Porter notes.
“Originally we wanted to get it done before winter break,” Porter said. “Getting the administrators to decide the time span, if we were allowed to plant, and to receive the plants [took some time].”
Regardless, the Environmental Club remained undaunted and began planning as soon as they had the go-ahead. All of the plants that now adorn a focal part of campus are drought resistant and native to California.
As a bonus, the native plant garden will double as a living source for science labs. Environmental Club advisor and biology teacher Megan Jones is eager to utilize the plants, that range from buckwheat to white sage, during the ecology unit.
“Currently we do an activity where we use pictures of plants to do the same idea; now we’ll have actual specimens,” Jones said. “We learn about food webs, where we will use the plants as autotrophs, or primary food source, and see what types of animals are related to these types of plants and our surrounding habitat.”
Jones, a proud science enthusiast complete with jellyfish earrings, recognizes the impact this project has had, both on a school and larger level.
“I feel it’s important that the next generation of people are aware of the concerns facing our planet,” Jones said. “I think it’s great that these students have the ambition to do something about the concerns they see.”
Co-treasurers Jack Bailes, a sophomore with a burgeoning love for botany, and senior Peter Pavillando have found purpose in working to solve such concerns.
“I’ve always loved plants,” Bailes said, and upon finding a worm while digging up mud, “We love worms! They help decompose, which releases nutrients like nitrogen that the plants use.”
Pavilando plans to major in environmental engineering to research impacts regarding the environment.
“This is the beginning, our first official project,” he said.
Over three hours of meticulous measurements, weed pulling, and intense dirt shoveling have yielded a serene space in a previously unnoticed area. A space that spreads the knowledge that ecology lovers, secret gardeners, and average Sundevils alike cherish each Tuesday in J6.
More photos are available at www.flickr.com/photos/mtcarmelsun