Have you ever wondered what the mysterious garden situated across from the library is? The Library Garden is a project run by the current IXs with help and input from Katrina Raben, Science Teacher and other faculty members The garden has been producing tasty produce for three years! Managing the space ties into the IXs curriculum in many ways. The VIII's learn about the Lenape Native Americans and the crops that they cultivated. Using that knowledge and research from Science class, this year’s IXs found what plants would survive best in New York weather.
In the fall, the IXs harvest their crops and prepare for the much anticipated Country Trip. For example, the IXs added herbs from their garden to the butter they churned. “[This] goes into [their] chemistry study and looking at lipids and fats,” said Katrina. When the IXs make herb sourdough, they look for microbes in the bread, part of their unit on fermentation. At the end of the year, the IXs have a Top Chef challenge and dive into a study of biology. “This year is a lot of chemistry, a lot of plant science, and some biology,” said Katrina.
By the spring, the IXs vote on which plants they wish to be grown the following year. They go to the Union Square Greenmarket to buy their seeds and each IX is given $20!
“The Library Garden is one of the lovely green spaces around the School, and it is always important to have more of them,” said Katrina.
This year the Sustainability Committee played a basketball game at the Barclay Center to raise money for a new green space at C&C. This green space is being created in the Teacher’s Garden, a space that until recently has been mostly barron. The committee will purchase seeds and plant saplings, hopefully transforming the space into one that is both relaxing and beautiful.
It is important for schools to have green spaces as they have proven to decrease anxiety and improve well-being. As well, these areas are vital for helping younger groups understand the biology of plants, especially when they spend a majority of their time an in urban landscape such as New York.
As summer approaches the current XIs and members of the Sustainability Committee brace for the warm weather and the growth in their garden. In the future, C&C hopes to shape its outdoor spaces into places that are enjoyable for the entire community. The efforts of the students and faculty that take part in the process are visible now. The Sustainability Committee knows that our community will soon be as lush as other NYC schools’, such as P.S. 41, the zoned public school for the neighborhood, which has a wonderful rooftop garden.
Katrina and her students hope to foster relationships between our community, other schools, and our neighbors in order to better understand the future of sustainability in schools and the larger world.