Upland students mark Earth Day with organic garden, compost program

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Upland Country Day School students work on their garden on Earth Day.

Upland Country Day School students work on the school’s new garden on Earth Day.

EAST MARLBROUGH —  Students at Upland Country Day School celebrated Earth Day 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. The Student Council launched a schoolwide Go Green composting project to nourish the garden with compost bins placed around campus and a program marking Earth Day to educate students from Pre-K to 9th grade on composting.

Ridge Wilkins, Maintenance Supervisor at Upland, spearheaded the large organic garden as part of Upland’s Sustainability Program and schoolwide efforts to Go Green.  His goal is to involve the entire school community from Pre-K 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 large garden will likely yield an abundance of vegetables. Students plan on donating surplus harvest to the Local Food Banks.

“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.”

Upland’s garden is situated near a storm water retention pond to eventually draw water with a solar powered pump for irrigation.

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