Science class helps complete long anticipated greenhouse

Post date: Oct 21, 2016 8:9:6 PM

It has been 10 years since Wells Junior High School Science teacher Saul Lindauer envisioned a greenhouse at the school. The construction and operation of a greenhouse was seen as a multifaceted and ongoing learning experience. It was also a part of Lindauer’s desire to help make the school “green” through a combination of recycling, composting, and practicing sustainability in part by learning to grow various plants.

“There is a direct link to the sustainability strand in science,” commented Lindauer. “The (Wells-Ogunquit CSD’s) “Farm to School” initiative with local farms also connects students to the local sources for food. It is very important to connect kids to their world through real work and this (greenhouse) project informs students about the food they eat and the choices they have as consumers.”

The greenhouse was first planned to be a post and beam structure but, despite having the funding in place from donations, unexpected roadblocks caused delays that lasted years. In 2014, teacher Bob Winn and his technology education students constructed the greenhouse’s foundation, added sides and put up a metal frame from a “hoop house” kit. Still, two more years would pass before school volunteer David Littlefield stepped forward to supervise the last phase of construction before winter.

Over a two-day period beginning, October 12th, a handful of seventh-grade science students, Ed Tech, Morey Hallett, and Littlefield covered and secured the 15 X 24 X 10 foot frame with a durable clear plastic. They added doors, brought in wooden plant beds, and created a compost area to receive daily compostable items from the school’s cafeteria.

“I feel very good about it,” said seventh grade student Joseph Ritchie. “It took us about two days to do it,” said Ritchie who added, “I just hope we can grow stuff that is good for everyone and healthy.” Student Jason Licardo was also among those working on the greenhouse and expressed confidence in the structure’s ability to last. “We made it with love, care and compassion. It was fun.”

Currently kale (from Littlefield’s garden) and 150 daffodil bulbs are planted. The bulbs were purchased from funds raised by the school’s “Green Team” collecting returnable bottles. The Green Team also did some digging work for the greenhouse. The daffodils will be sold at WJHs’s 2017 Mother’s Day sale. Others helping included the school’s head custodian Mike Provencher who contributed grass clippings and leaves for the compost.

Seventh grade student Joseph “Joe” Ritchie watering plants in the WJHS greenhouse.

Standing at left is student Jason Licardo. School volunteer and substitute teacher David Littlefield is securing a covering on one side of the greenhouse.