Enviromental Club expands garden and goal


Garner Province, Staff Writer

With new leadership, the U. City environmental club is in action creating gardens, recycling and educating the community on sustainability. Led by sponsor Matthew Tuths, Latin teacher, and club president Bella Wright, junior, the club is advancing its mission to help our school become greener.  The School District of University City is already one of only two green ribbon status districts in the state.

“University City is a Green Ribbon School District and so we’re actually one of only two school districts in the whole state that has federal green ribbon status,” Tuths said. “The other one is Parkway. There are 20 individual schools in the state that have green ribbon status, but we are only one of only two districts.”

This work doesn’t come lightly though. All of the schools in our district have worked hard for this ribbon status.

“Very generally what that means is that as a whole district we have taken steps to be environmentally friendly, whether it is having student-run recycling programs, school gardens that are incorporated into classes and clubs or using some solar energy,” Tuths said. “There are a lot of different specific things that are involved in earning green ribbon status, but they are all about having all of your schools in the whole district taking intentional steps to be more environmentally friendly.”

Even though they were mainly focused on recycling and composting last year, they have many new and exciting ideas in the works.

“I think in the future we’re going to try to work with the kitchen (cafeteria) either by giving them fresh food or making the trash and recycling in the cafeteria more environmentally friendly,” Oliver Watt Hoven, junior, said. “And we’re also just going to continue the recycling initiative during the B rotation periods.”

Next year, they are expanding the garden to the field on the east side of Jackson Avenue, which is just under an acre. The space will be used for food production and an outdoor classroom/event space. 

“This year we’re working on building the first stage of our garden, which is going to be next to the library,” Watt Hoven said. “Next year we’re going to try to expand the garden across the library, which is just a big open field that would be perfect for it.”

Tuths also has plans for a school-wide composting system. 

“Next year, a goal for the Growing Together event (the district’s environment and public art event), is to start all or almost all of the plants given away from seed,” Tuths said. “In our greenhouse right now we buy a lot of seedlings that we bring to the event, but we’d like to start them all from seed ourselves. These tangible goals align with the more valuable based goals that students identified this year.” 

However, being in the club doesn’t entirely mean you have to love planting or be big about recycling. 

“The stuff that we do in the Environmental Club are things that are good for everyone,” Tuths said. “No matter what kind of space you live in there is always room to bring some form of gardening into your life, whether it is having a plant in your window sill or something else like that. It feels good to have some kind of connection to nature, no matter how big or small the connection is.”  

As club president, Wright, serves as the face of the program.

“My responsibilities as president include helping to run meetings, leading school-wide recycling, working with Mr. Tuths to facilitate overall projects and maintaining action plans,” Wright said. “A lot of my job is acting as the face of the club; if a teacher needs something from the club, they know to talk to me, and it’s atypical for me to miss club events.”  

Joining the Environmental Club and just helping out once or twice a week could not only help the environment but could be a cool way to hang out with friends. 

“People should just try to think more about the environment in general and consider joining some kind of environmental organization that’s available to them, even if all they do is something small once a week because it still helps,” Watt Hoven said. “When other people randomly join us in our environmental club activities, it always helps since we have more people and it’s a good time, so I would encourage people to help out wherever they can.”