Springing to life: everything you need to know about the Gardening Club
April 11, 2017
Around four years ago, Mrs. Walker, Biology teacher, received a grant to buy plant beds for the school’s up and coming garden. Shortly after, two other teachers joined the cause and started the Gardening Club.
The club was created to encourage student interaction within gardening indigenous fruits and vegetables.
“The initial goal of the school garden was to be a place where teachers could destress during lunch, and it sort of evolved into an area that was almost sort of like a classroom – a place where students who were interested the ability to learn,” said Ian Dillinger, one of the club sponsors.
At the beginning, there were very few students involved, it but has grown to have over 40 members. The garden is almost completely run but students with as little teacher interaction as possible.
Since the garden has opened to students, it has been on the rise and made major gains throughout the years. It has grown to be much more than just a place for teachers to enjoy lunch and become a passion for many students across Summerville High School.
The club also works alongside another club at the school called the Bee Club that helps out in the garden.
“We’ve gone beyond plants and now we’re talking about insects that are beneficial for plants and what is the micro biome if you will of a garden,” said Mr. Dillinger.
Together, the clubs work in the garden on what are called “work days” within the clubs.
The Bee Club aspires to save endangered species in South Carolina, such as the Hawaiian yellow-faced bees, Hylaeus Anthracinus, Hylaeus Longiceps. The clubs come together to plant local plants and flowers that bee friendly.
“The Gardening Club helps bees by providing necessary fruiting and flowering vegetables and flowers to support the endangered bee population,” said Mr. Dillinger.
Teaching students the value and reward of the hard work it takes to manage a flourishing garden.
The most surprising part of the club has been the extreme growth of the club amongst students. Usually farmers/gardeners are seen as older men and women and not high school students, but the club strives to sort of make farming “cool” again.
“I was passionate about it and I wanted the students to be passionate about it because ultimately when you look at it the average age for a farmer in the U.S. is 59 and a half years old… nobody wants to do it because it’s hard work so teaching the students the value of that hard work is most important,” said Mr. Dillinger.
The Gardening Club has big plans in the upcoming months, such as planting different vegetables, adding plants to the two raise beds that they are currently not using, and hosting meetings and encouraging more students to join.