Former CHSS principal Sheila Wells

Ground broken for horticulture project at Charles Hays Secondary School

After more than a year of preparation, Charles Hays Secondary School (CHSS) students can start incorporating gardening into their learning.

After more than a year of preparation, Charles Hays Secondary School (CHSS) students can start incorporating gardening into their learning.

The groundwork to create a greenhouse outside of CHSS is now underway, as part of the school’s new horticultural project.

The project will have various classes in the school tend to plants and herbs in the greenhouse’s garden, with the science and home economics departments identifying relevant learning outcomes to align with the project.

“It will help students get hands on learning, and make them see that what they’re learning is relevant,” said former CHSS principal Sheila Wells, a driving force behind the horticultural project.

The program will expand recycling in the school to include food products, growing flowers for school beautification and study, growing and learning about indigenous plants, and cultivating vegetables and herbs for use in the school and to support families in need.

Wells, along with CHSS principal Sandy Pond and vice-principal Kevin Leach, was ecstatic to see the project get underway on Jan. 9.

“It’s been a long-time coming. A lot of people have done a lot of work to get us to where we are today,” Leach said, adding talks of the project began over a year ago.

“It’s going to be really good for the school. The kids and staff are going to benefit,” said Wells.

The greenhouse is set to arrive in the beginning of February and will be assembled on-site by Rupert Wood ‘N Steel. Wood ‘N Steel is also excavating the site, running water and electrical services from the school to the greenhouse, installing drainage and building the greenhouse’s foundation.

Pond said the plan is to have students planting seeds in the greenhouse in February or March. Leach said vegetables like kale and cauliflower and herbs like parsley and chives will likely be the first plants, with the school working toward mixing plants that provide natural pest control properties. Leach said those involved with the project are trying to be as organic as possible, using recyclables.

The approximate cost of the CHSS horticultural project is $53,000 overall, with the district receiving $14,000 of funding from the Mitchell Odyssey Foundation, $7,500 from Ridley Terminals Inc., and $2,500 from Northern Savings Credit Union. Other funds were generated as school-based funding.

The current focus of the project is to setup the greenhouse, and setup the recycling of biodegradable foods at the school, with eventual plans of the science department integrating solar paneling and electricity production to make the project entirely self-sufficient.