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Q&A: Harsy reflects on garden’s growth

Emily Filec

Emily Filec, Staff Reporter

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Though it’s February, English teacher Kathleen Harsy and the garden committee are busy reflecting on the past season and making improvements for the upcoming one.

What is your reaction to the first official season of the garden?

I am excited and further motivated to continue to work at growing the educational impact of the garden alongside our student body, Mr. Holt, Mr. Izaguirre, Mr. Dignan, Mr. Fields, Mr. O’Rourke , and Ms. Ives’s within the cafeteria and our school administration.

What went well this year?

  • Student and staff interaction with garden
  • School wide support of garden stemming from the administration
  • Use of produce within school cafeteria
  • Successful growth of Kale, Swiss Chard, Basil, Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Cherry  Tomatoes, Heirloom Tomatoes,  Nasturtiums, Parsley, Sunflowers, Cosmos, Jalapenos, Basil, Thyme, and Sage
  • SEE team closed down the 2012 garden
  • SEE team planted garlic and tulips for Spring 2013
  • Mike Hornung is working on the building of the fence for his Eagle Scout project with help from other RB students.
  • Over $10,000 in grant money awarded from various donors including Whole Foods, RB’s PTO and 2012 Senior class gift.
  • 2 liter bottle collection for the building of a greenhouse.
  • Summer upkeep of garden during extreme summer weather

 What do you hope to improve next year?

 [We hope to] grow more root vegetables and cultivate more student and teacher engagement.

What is your favorite part of the garden?

Watching students interact with the garden, working with Dawn and her staff in the cafeteria, and working with Mr. Holt, Mr. Izaguirre, Mr. Dignan, Mr. Fields, Mr. O’Rourke .

 Do you have any official names in mind, other than the EndZone Garden?

 Not at this time.

How have you used the garden in your classes? How do you feel your classes responded?

I used the garden in several ways but the most recent activity was with my grade 10 students. Students were assessed on plant identification through a garden scavenger hunt.  Then, students created art using plant materials and assessed of one another’s art work through a written evaluation. Overall, students have been very positive in their feedback and willingness to try new things. Students come into class asking to go out into the garden.

Harsy also commented that the positive feedback from the Clarion, the Landmark and the Chicago Tribune has contributed to a successful first official season with the Endzone Garden.

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Free of Bull, Full of Bulldogs
Q&A: Harsy reflects on garden’s growth