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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Students build garden house to promote sustainability

From an article in the Stevens Point Journal by Nicole Strittmater:

Students in P.J. Jacobs Junior High School construction class are doing their part for the environment.

On Tuesday, 18 ninth-graders spent the day building a 10-foot-by-20-foot garden house behind the vacant Jackson Elementary School. The garden house is meant to supplement a new organic vegetable garden established by the Sustainable Communities Committee, a group of citizens promoting efficient practices.

Stevens Point residents can set up a 12-foot-by-4-foot garden box for free, and once the students are finished, the building will be used for storage and garden prep work.

"We think it's going to help the neighborhood. We're in the heavily forested area, so we don't have sunlight in our backyards for our gardens at home," said committee member Wes Halverson, 68, adding the land near the school is exposed to sunlight. "We want to get a lot of things planted this spring."

Construction teacher Dave Rasmussen said he hopes to have the structure done before May 27, but the $5,000 floor plan is short on funds.

Halverson, a retired University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point environmental management professor, donated $2,000, but the students are looking for the extra cash.
"The economy is killing us. We need somebody else in the community (to help us)," Rasmussen said.

Andrea Stafford, one of Rasmussen's former students who is now an architect in the Chicago area, has teamed up with the class to design the facility, and Kulp's of Stratford LLC in Wausau is donating a steel roof.
The students' work will help with rooftop rain collection and storage for tools.

"There's no electricity and therefore, there's no water. So, we have to be sustainable," Halverson said. "We have to put in rainwater collection and the hand pump to pump up water from high ground water. We'd like to put in a solar water pump eventually once we pay for the building."

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