Environmentally-conscious renovations to come

Environmentalism is a philosophy on which clubs like Earth force and classes like environmental systems are founded. Moreover the term “going green” and “leave only footprints” can be heard in almost every household.

Nevertheless, the distance between the environment and students has grown through the years, Due to recent budget cuts field trips have declined in regularity so now “kids are spending less and less time outside, so from an environmental education viewpoint, people are a lot less connected to the environment” said FCPS environmental education manager Elaine Tholen.

Along those lines, senior Alexandra Rosenbluth, an IB Environmental Systems and Societies (ESS) student and a senior officer of Earth Force, argued that “Fairfax County needs to get more on top of the Green movement.”

To remedy this, George C. Marshall has collaborated with the National Wildlife Federation to build the garden as a part of their Eco School Program. The garden will consist of only native species in the science courtyard.

Fairfax County School board gave the native garden plan its stamp of approval last fall. However, construction only began on April 29. Additional funds from the Fairfax County Department of Transportation and Facility amounted 3000 dollars.

According to Tholen, renovation designers feared that the garden would disrupt construction on the science hallway and the renovation could adversely affect the garden once the garden is completed.

As a result, the garden has been confined to the western half of the courtyard for now.

Senior Diana Akuv, who assisted Tholen in the garden’s construction, said the garden “will help people realize that environmentalism starts in your own backyard, where you can watch things grow.”

Junior Mazin Ali agreed, saying “it gives us hands-on approach to environmental issues.”

According to Biology and IB ESS teacher, Barbara Brown her classes see the garden as a way to learn through seeing rather than reading. With Fairfax County’s financial support and the contributions made by science students, Tholen said she hopes to complete the garden by June and then work on its pond.

Meanwhile, seniors Ria Firth and Jasmine Taylor will design educational signs. Also, Eagle Scouts Patrick Nicholson and John Wise will build sheds to house gardening equipment.

Principal Jay Pearson said the garden will function as a “living classroom,” where students can experiment with flora and eventually fauna, when wildlife settles around the garden thereby bringing the confined Biology and environmental systems classes outside and closer to nature.”