Clear Brook High unveils new atrium garden
Faculty at Clear Brook High School in Friendswood hope that a recently unveiled garden will prove useful to students in a variety of classes.
"The school was built around these three atriums," says Frieda Shafer, the school's Program Coordinator for Communities in Schools-Bay Area. "Previously this atrium area was just grass and weeds, no one had done anything with it."
One of the school's teachers, Cheryl Wendling, applied in 2009 for $10,000 in grant funding from Lowe's and the Clear Creek Education Foundation, which the school won. Shafer took over the project after Wendling left the school, recruiting volunteer work from students, community members, and local companies.
"I had different student groups that would stay after school and help clear the area," Shafer says. "We hauled in sand, we hauled in soil... the planters were actually built by some of our construction students with the help of their teacher."
The result is a garden, about 120 by 25 feet, planted with herbs, peppers, tomatoes and indigenous Texas plants that are intended to attract butterflies and hummingbirgs. "The special-needs students planted herbs, and we have a food-science class on our campus -- those students will be able to utilize it."
The garden features several raised planters and accessible paths so that students in wheelchairs can use it, as can students in the school's horticulture, environmental-science and floral-design classes. "Maybe even art students could come out and sit and do some drawings," Shafer adds.
Different student clubs and classes will share the responsibility of keeping up the atrium day to day. The school's special-needs students can also garden as a form of therapy. "They were so excited," Shafer says. "It was just so enjoyable to see them planting those plants, and excited about it."
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