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VISTA Post #4: Students in Action

On my second Wednesday at Hilsman Middle School I began our food collection journey in the cafeteria. My goal was to see how kids interacted with a cart rolling up and down the isles of their cafeteria as I requested packaged foods they did not want and their milk cartons to recycle. The kids were all about it! They gave me packs of carrots, apple sauces and were intrigued by the recycling. Most kids wanted to trade carrots for extra apple sauce or vice versa. I even had several kids ask to help, which could mean two things: they were interested in what I was doing or this gave them a reason to get up and socialize. But, either way I was excited to see them so engaged with what was going on.

Over the past two weeks I’ve had students recall their time helping in the green house with last years VISTA, students asking “where’s the compost?” and even one student who had already sorted out a rotation schedule for when we get a compost in place (currently the new garden is under construction, so we do not have compost at the moment). There is so much enthusiasm from students. I cannot wait for them to have the garden space available and to see what they will be able to accomplish with it.

I ended Wednesday at the 21st Century after school program: Foundations in Design Fall Charrette. This after school program is teaching students about the process behind landscape architecture and design. Students are focusing on the new garden space and coming up with their own designs. This past Wednesday students made lists of features they wanted in the school garden. Features included bee hives, grape vines, a worm farm, and even a garden friendly bear exhibit (one of many large animal exhibits proposed). If you couldn’t tell, these kids are pumped to have their school garden up and running once again!

Charlie Evans
Grow It Know It AmeriCorps VISTA 2019-2020