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Andrew Seeing Green

The Victor J. Andrew High School greenhouse officially opened May 22 with an open house for teachers and staff. T-Bolts treated staff to hand-painted pots and plants, all grown and cared for by students. Soilless growing techniques, the impact of climate change on plant species, and a pollinator hotspot to help boost the dwindling bee population are just a few of the ways the new greenhouse at Andrew may be utilized.

The 1,152-square-foot greenhouse is climate-controlled for year-round use and is equipped with water and electricity. Paid for by ESSER grant funds, the greenhouse will help science teachers teach ecology, agriculture, biology – everything from the life-cycle of plants to how weather affects growing conditions.

The Andrew Green Team Club, whose members help raise environmental awareness, appreciation for nature, and conservation of natural resources, hopes to utilize the garden in various ways. According to club sponsors and science teachers Sara Biallas and Kelly House, members have plans to start seeds, set up mini ecosystems to learn about biodiversity and conservation, discuss climate change, experiment with hydroponics and aquaponics, and grow plants that will be used to make terrariums for club fundraising.

Additionally, the greenhouse will have implications far beyond the classroom or after-school co-curriculars. Partnerships with master gardeners, the Forest Preserve District, and the Orland Grasslands could inspire careers in urban landscaping, urban development, or urban planning. Learning about food habitats for bees and butterflies or the benefits of composting could inspire students to start a pollinator or vegetable garden at home.

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