Upland plants organic garden for Earth Day

Courtesy Photo Students at Upland help plant fence posts and grade the earth for an organic garden Monday as part of an Earth Day celebration.

The kids at Upland Country Day School used Earth Day as a kick off for their “Go Green” initiative.

The students at Upland celebrated with the opening of a newly plowed 40’ x 80’ organic campus garden and a school wide composting project.

Students participated in breaking ground and fencing the large garden, which is located near the school’s ice rink off Byrd Road. Upland’s Gardening Group marked off rows and planted peas, spinach, leaf lettuce, blue potatoes, strawberries, rhubarb and sunflowers for Earth Day.

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The Student Council launched a school wide “Go Green” composting project to nourish the garden with compost bins placed around campus and a program marking Earth Day to educate students from preschool to ninth grade on the benefits of composting.

The garden is also situated near a storm water retention pond, with the goal to eventually draw water with a solar powered pump for irrigation.

Maintenance supervisor Ridge Wilkins spearheaded the large organic garden as part of Upland’s Sustainability Program and school wide efforts to Go Green.

His goal, he said, is to involve the entire school community from preschool on up in the garden and sustainability effort. Vegetables planted this week will be harvested and enjoyed before the end of the school year.

“Nothing tastes better than when you grow it yourself,” Wilkins said. “Being part of the process of creating and planting the garden, the students are inspired to try and enjoy vegetables they may normally avoid.”

The hopes are, he added, to yield a substantial amount of vegetables.

Wilkins said that students plan on donating surplus harvest to local food banks, adding a layer of both community service and a deeper educational component to the gardens.

“A garden is a great education tool,” Wilkins said. “It’s all about experimentation and learning. There are lots of failures in gardening, but just like in life, that’s how successes are built.”

Started in 1970 in the Unites States, Earth Day has become an internationally recognized event, with participants in over 140 countries using the day to celebrate nature and to encourage environmental principles in people young and old.