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Recycled trees help school garden grow

Every year, UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research holds a Christmas Tree Recycling program after the holidays. The public is invited to drop off their Christmas trees to be chipped into mulch for use on the Garden's trails.

Besides being a great sustainability initiative, the event also serves as a fundraiser with the proceeds going to support garden-related projects at local elementary and high schools.

This year, David Thompson Secondary School received a $705 donation from UBC Botanical Garden. The funds will be used to purchase supplies  to grow food for the school cafeteria, and to plant native food plants in existing gardens .  UBC Botanical Garden's community outreach extends far beyond the monetary donation, however.

"Gardens provide children with hands-on learning opportunities and nurture an understanding and respect for the environment, food, health and the cycles of life," said Nadine Diner, Education & Outreach Manager, UBC Botanical Garden.

"We're also offering additional support, such as student field trips to the Garden and plant donations," added Diner. "We are especially interested in introducing more native plants to their landscaping and gardens. These plants are useful in discussing social studies, First Nations culture, science and ecology," she said.

Garden volunteers plan to visit David Thompson Secondary in the spring to help clean-up the garden and prepare it for the next growing season. Diner will also visit the school to demonstrate and discuss environmental awareness, native and invasive plants, and local food production.

"Thanks to DT staff and community volunteers, a lot of effort has gone into promoting and supporting our garden club. Several big plans are in place for the spring. The garden club is excited to use the funds that were donated to acquire the necessary supplies to grow food for the cafeteria's salad bar," said Vice Principal, Max Adrien.

The vegetable plants will be grown and maintained by the students in the club, so they can enjoy hands-on learning opportunities, and nurture an understanding and respect for the environment, food, health, and the cycles of life.

The David Thompson Secondary School garden includes a greenhouse and outdoor raised beds that are used by classes at the school. Currently, students in the cooking class harvest plants and contribute them to the food served in the cafeteria.

"We look forward to doing more so that we can continue to exploring the joy of growing, harvesting and cooking healthy and nutritious locally grown food," said Adrien.

 

As the 2011 Christmas Tree Recycling Program recipients, the students are also looking forward to field trips at UBC Botanical Garden and having Garden staff visit the students at their school.

 

Photo caption: UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research present a cheque to David Thompson Secondary School for their garden club.

From left: Max-Michel Adrien - Vice Principal; Winnie Monk - PE and Tourism Teacher, Garden Club Sponsor; Debra Green - Cafeteria Chef; Avelyne Tran - Student, Grade 9, Garden Club Member; Elena Jiang Su - Student, Grade 11, Garden Club Member; Anita Georgy - Volunteer, Garden Club Coordinator and Horticulturist; Patrick Lewis - Director, UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research; Nadine Diner - Education and Outreach Manager, UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research.

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