Courtesy photo
Special education students at Mineral County High School helped transform an abandoned green house into a thriving garden on campus.

Behind the school administration department which is located in the Arlo Funk building, an abandoned green house sat with tumble weeds blown against its structure. Wild plants had taken root as well and were growing everywhere within the breeze way. When the Special Education instructor, Mike Harris, happened upon it, he saw an opportunity for his students to learn while expending energy in a new way.

With the assistance from some community resources, a new skill began among his students. With a few touchups made inside and old ammo boxes donated by Tina Manzini of Napa Auto Parts, planting boxes were added to waist high benches. Bags of soil, as well as seeds, were passed along from Cindy Nixon at the B&B Nursery located in the True Value Hardware Store. From there the work slowly began.

As Harris explained, “The kids enjoyed cleaning up the space as they realized we were having a new adventure in gardening. They filled up the planter boxes, watered and began the process of planting and labeling the items we would be growing.”

This green house project became a daily walk from the high school, while providing an area of interest which the students could participate in. Some enjoyed watching the daily growth, while others would want a hands-on approach by pruning the plants and watering. What was important was the vision of creating their own space which would produce flowers and vegetables, while learning the care it involved each day.

Kelly Orndoff, a personal aid that assists Travis Isom, was also a participant as she assisted with the experience by encouraging all the students to enjoy in the gardening experience. Harris contributed the garden house success to a host of cooperating individuals.

The project has become important to his SPED students and the class welcomes any gardening donations such as small hand tools, seed packets, soil and books.