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Queens Goes Green

US Green Building Council student group helps school create organic garden

imageStudents show off their seedlings before planting them in a garden
By Linda Pastryk06/26/13 -  

The US Green Building Council (USGBC) student group at Queens University of Charlotte has kicked-off their organic garden in collaboration with Myers Park Traditional Elementary School.

When USGBC student vice president, Jennifer Reid, an experienced gardener, noticed two existing garden beds on the adjacent property of Myers Park Traditional School (MPTS), she saw a great opportunity for education and community collaboration. Bill Nichols, Vice-President for Campus Planning and Services at Queens, and Lane Price, Principal at MPTS, lent their support, as well as local businesses like Lowe's Home Improvement (Iverson Way). With donations from Lowe's of soil, seedlings and various supplies, the grade school planted seeds for vegetables and herbs in biodegradable cups and then watched them germinate. MPTS parents generously endorsed the project by contributing tomato plants and stepping stones.

While the seeds took root, the USGBC student group prepared the beds. With the process underway, Queens USGBC investigated the best way to till the soil, researched environmental concerns and consulted with community organizations, like Friendship Gardens and Tool Bank.

On the morning of June 7, MPTS elementary students, supervised by their teachers and staff, eagerly transported the seedlings to the soil with the assistance of the Queens USGBC. Stacey Evans, a Queens alumna and a member of the EPros (Charlotte Chapter), also stopped by to lend her support.

With the garden taking shape, Nicole Lynch, USGBC student president at Queens, will consider ways to encourage Queens graduates to participate in the future of the garden, either by actual tending or a financial donation. These measures would safeguard the future of the garden as an enduring feature of Queens and the community.

The USGBC student group intends to share the garden's harvest with Queens dining services, as well as community organizations. Working with Queens' Campus Planning and Services and MPTS, Queens USGBC hopes to expand the garden to include architectural features, a fish pond and flowers. As for watering the garden, Nicole plans to work with Professor Greg Pillar to explore the possibility of safely utilizing harvested rainwater (collected in underground cisterns on campus).

Queens USGBC agrees their main goal is to educate children and adults about sustainability, environmental stewardship and healthy life practices. According to Jennifer Reid, "Now that the garden has been planted, the next step is growing more ideas."

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