St. Mary’s started their Greenhouse Project about 3 years ago since we are a Green School and were given a greenhouse by a generous donor.
In the beginning students were given free choice for seeds to choose from but we quickly realized what grew best in our native area. Going into our third year we now provide the seeds and students pick from a given list of plants and vegetables including herbs, fruits, and flowers, and some native to Maryland. The students choose their seeds, research the many facets of their plant, from days to maturity, the best climate to grow, uses for the plant, and recipes that could be made with their particular plant.
The greenhouse project goes further and enables the students to be independent thinkers. Along with the actual taking care of their plants they need to expand the thought process. Beth Wilson, Tech and STEM teacher, states “They are required to create a Google site through STEM tech class as well. Students learn web design skills as they create a Google Site to share their information. The Google Site will include the hypothesis, research, materials, procedures, data and data analysis, conclusion and bibliography. Students will include pictures of the process.”
The students have the opportunity to sell their plants at two events: Earth, Water, and Faith festival at Parole Town Center on April 30 and Earth Day celebration. They also have the opportunity at the joint High School and Elementary School Mass in May. Students are responsible for talking about the project, their plants, and any relevant information they feel the audience will appreciate. In doing this they also make decisions on prices of their product which in turn helps with their calculations for sales. All money raised goes back into the project: greenhouse, seed purchase, soil purchase, etc.
Maintenance is part of this project as well, students help care for the wetland area located on our campus. This includes weeding, raking leaves, planting, etc. This helps the students have a better understanding and importance of planting, composting and general maintenance of the wetland. “It’s wonderful to see their interest in the plants they choose and how to care for them from seed to seedling to growth”, stated Eleanor Manning, 5th grade math and science teacher. In all that they do, the students at St. Mary’s are committed to finding innovative solutions to address real-world challenges—and their skill sets and STEM literacy will pay off in the future.
St. Mary’s Parish, a Catholic congregation served by the Redemptorist Order, includes St. Mary’s Church and St. John Neumann Mission Church. St. Mary's Elementary and High School located in downtown Annapolis, Maryland, serve students in grades Kindergarten through 12. Anchored in faith, rooted in tradition, and committed to excellence, our programs build lifelong learners who are servant leaders.