Students build Tiger Victory Garden

HOLLIDAYSBURG – The Spade and Trowel Garden Club, Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania, has selected the Tiger Victory Garden at Hollidaysburg Area Senior High School as its Garden of the Month for August. The Hollidaysburg Area Senior High needed an outdoor learning environment for multiple courses to utilize in their curriculum.

The teachers desired a space to take sustainable living out of theory and put it into practice. The school was not growing fresh produce for lunches or composting food waste.

The Tiger Victory Garden was established at the Hollidaysburg Area Senior High to be a multi-disciplinary learning environment and was funded through grants from the Hollidaysburg Area School District Foundation and a Lowe’s Toolbox Grant.

It was begun in the spring of 2012 and has since become an integral part of the Hollidaysburg Area Senior High School community. Biology II students determined that the soil was nutrient-depleted.

Therefore, raised beds were required to ensure good growing conditions and to provide access for students of multiple ambulatory modes. Custodians have been composting leaves and grass clippings on site, so the beds were filled with the school’s own compost.

The wood technology students have designed and built all of the raised beds, the compost bin, benches and other out buildings that made this garden a focal point of the school.

The Tiger Victory Garden has allowed students to plan and maintain beds that provide produce for school lunches and the summer lunch program.

The garden includes: fruit trees, berry bushes, herbs, many different vegetables and flowers. This variety also allows the food prep classes to use the garden to discuss healthy eating and utilize produce grown in the garden for the meals they plan.

The cafeteria and food prep classes compost all appropriate food scraps in the compost bin. The art students utilize the space for displaying work, such as the mosaics that delineate the garden.

Life skills and autistic support use the garden to work on sensory integration. The cafeteria staff has incorporated the fresh produce and herbs into the daily menu. The biology and ecology students utilize the space as a learning environment, not just for botany studies but also for lesson on sustainability.

The Tiger Victory Garden is a valuable teaching tool, not just for students and staff, but the community. The community has responded positively to the garden because it has enhanced the school grounds, students’ learning and promotes the message of sustainability. Students alone planned and installed the garden and associated structures.