It’s a Sunday afternoon and the doors to Carroll Senior High are cracked open.
In the school’s foyer, Michelle Kelly uses scissors to cut off the bottom of plastic water bottles and strip off the blue labels. Then the Carroll sophomore tosses the water bottles in a bin where a group of students place the bottles into rows, which will be held together by bamboo sticks to create greenhouse walls.
Kelly plans to use about 4,300 water bottles to create a greenhouse for the campus by April. The greenhouse is Kelly’s project to be recognized for a Gold Award within the Girl Scouts.
“When choosing a project I knew I wanted to do something for the life skills students whom I have had the pleasure of spending time with over the years,” Kelly said via press release. “It was also important to me to do a project that would involve and benefit a large student body.”
Environmental science and life skills classes will use the greenhouse to study soil, plant life, gardening and more. At the end of school year students will have a pizza party using ingredients from the garden.
Environmental science teacher Kim Lufkin plans to use the garden to help teach about pests, pesticides and agriculture.
“I believe learning sticks when it is practical and fun,” Lufkin said. “Real learning begins when you can create curiosity and then satisfy it.”
The garden is tucked next to the CISD Aquatics Center.
More than 40 volunteers, mostly students, have worked on the project that spanned weekends and spring break time.
Freshman Kevin Beirne said he didn’t mind spending his weekends sanding bamboo and shoveling dirt.
“It feels good to help the community and see our school grow,” he said.
But more than those who spent part of their weekend helped. Kelly placed water bottle drop-off boxes in classrooms and areas throughout the campus.
The team met their original goal of 2,500, but are now hoping to collect 4,300.
The project has opened Kelly’s eyes to the power of recycling.
“There’s a lot of cool things you can do with recyclables,” she said. “It’s cool that you can build a greenhouse with water bottles and bamboo.”