Students break out green thumbs during spring break
Many UH students started their spring break with getting their hands a little dirty.
Teaching community members about plants was the focus of one UH group, while innovative ways to grow plants was the focus of another. Plants and soil and were activity highlights. Young students enrolled at the UH Charter school were the audience of an educational program organized by UH’s Community Learning and Sustainability Program’s (CLASP) department on the morning of Friday, March 12.
“I like the Venus Fly Trap,” a young student said while walking to their education station. Learning about native plants, seedlings and the ecosystem were some of the rotations the young students were able to attend. Some UH students volunteered for this event for the opportunity to work with the youth. While each volunteer had different skills to offer, all shared an interest in plants.
Gardening helps avoid pesticides but “I don’t have anywhere to garden,” broadcast journalism junior Kolbe Ricks said. “Plants take in carbon dioxide…” nutrition senior Ashley Devers said to one group. “Everybody say photosynthesis…”
“Nutrition has a lot of science… I could relate to (teaching science),” Devers said about volunteering for the event. Students learned about the plant life cycle as they planted their own seeds with the help of environmental science freshman Andrew Alleman. “Does anyone know where seeds come from?” Alleman said as students covered their seeds with soil. The growth process and seed care were discussed.
This community outreach program is one of many organized by CLASP. Other programs include the Campus Community Garden and the Composting Program. The group composts approximately 80 gallons of carbon-rich waste each weekday from the Moody Towers and Oberholzer dining halls; according to the Green UH Web site. The compost is used as fertilizer for the Campus Community Garden.
Seedlings for the Campus Community Garden were prepared by the UH Horticulture Society in the Greenhouse Friday afternoon. The group also built a hydroponic system to test how plants grow without soil. “I encourage members to learn from each other and read books,” biotechnology sophomore Yosef Kerzner said. He describes the soil composition of nearby plants to members.
Tomato, oregano, mint, basil and jalapeno are some of the plants the group grows in the greenhouse. “It almost always tastes better…” Kerzner said. “There’s really no comparison to the stuff you buy in the store.” The greenhouse plant sale and spring-cleaning were other topics discussed among members. A banana plant is among many the group plans to offer at the plant sale early April.
Conversation about a new worm bin, maintenance, and benefits concluded the group’s activities. The organization’s membership has grown recently as students want to learn more about these areas of interest.
“I can’t do any of these neat projects at home,” economics junior Kavan Yen said about joining the UH Horticulture Society. “I thought I could learn something and be around other people with similar interests …”