Last year, teachers, school psychologists, and two students, Sakayt Singh and Sunjay Muralitharan were given permission by Principal Bob Moran to clean and use the garden next to the 90’s Science wing. The project received several monetary grants, directed toward improving the campus. The garden’s atmosphere reflects the project’s aim: promoting cooperation between all students in a stress-free environment. The garden can benefit students who need space to de-stress and practice mindfulness during the school day.
Other goals for the project include continuing to expand vocational skills and job-related tasks for our special education classes, offering a gardening class and service-learning opportunities, and, finally, providing cooperation and inclusion opportunities between various focus groups and programs on campus, such as Avid, Women’s Empowerment, Wellness Center, and special education programs. This gardening project was inspired by research on the benefits of community and school gardens where students can learn to eat healthy organic foods and see the process of growing their food. School psychologist Wani Bhatti, a leader of this project, said that, “The project is ongoing but thus far, it’s been extremely satisfying to support two Washington students who completed their Eagle Projects and to get to see how hard they worked with their troops. These two scouts raised the money to complete the projects (building planter boxes and building a concrete pathway for students in wheelchairs to access the garden). It’s also been great for students to be able to plant, harvest and cook what they have grown.” While this project is relatively new, perhaps you may be wondering what is going to happen in the future of this initiative. “We’d like to get to a point where we grow enough to sell at plant sales and have our own farmer’s market,” Bhatti explained. “Since we have a culinary program on campus we would like to expand our partnership with supplying produce to the program and using their waste/leftovers to build our composting program. These would be ways that we’d generate our own funds and become sustainable.” She added that “Currently, we are collaborating with Avid, Women’s Empowerment and Wellness Center and special education programs to collect and reuse containers to make Mother’s day gifts for a plant sale that will be held at the end of April.” Overall, this garden is a great step forward to enrich the Washington community and will grow even more for future generations of Huskies to enjoy.