BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Bridgewater-Raritan High School Garden Club members Margot Pitney and Aishwarya Sadh thought it would be a great idea to have an outdoor garden at the school – and after a couple years and gathering sponsors and more, that dream is going to become a reality.
The purpose of the project is to create an organic, sustainable and environmentally friendly garden that can continue to grow for years to come.
According to Len Herman, supervisor of fine and practical arts at the high school, the home improvement classes will build a fence for the garden to keep the deer away, and they are going to begin planting vegetables and more in the spring.
In addition, Herman said, the plan is to build rain barrels, with help from Bridgewater Township, and use those to water the garden. The barrels will collect rainwater from the school rooftop, while also reducing stormwater runoff at the school.
“We will plant native plants and vegetables and more,” he said.
The garden is being planted outside the 800 building, near Garretson Road, and the plan is also to eventually have an outdoor classroom on the property for science students to learn, art students to sit outside and sketch and more.
Herman said Pitney is the president of the garden club, and she has been envisioning the project for years. She and Sadh presented it to the board of education for approval.
Garden Club advisors Steve Jankoski and Eugene Pirog have been working with the students to put the proposal together.
Funding for the project, Herman said, has come from grants through Sanofi U.S, the Bridgewater-Raritan High School PTO and the Bridgewater-Raritan Education Foundation.
The club, Herman said, has also had support from Bridgewater Creative Arts Committee chairperson Stephanie Moench, who has worked to build community support for the project, and council president Matthew Moench, who has provided contacts within the community.
Locally, Herman said, WJR Landscaping owner Wes Rowe has donated time to make the proejct a reality, as has Debbie Zeckman, from Lowes.
According to the proposal for the project, this garden and its use in the school’s curriculum will help the school earn credits toward two different environmental certification programs for schools.
During the school year, the Garden Club, special education and science classes will maintain the garden, all of which can be incorporated into the curriculum.
Also partnering with the school are the New Jersey Water Authority and the New Jersey Audubon Society.