MSD’s Marjory’s Garden creates inviting environment full of activities

Kate Becker and Nicholas Zanetti

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s Marjory’s Garden has seen heavy updates over the past few months and has become a very inviting place as the school year progressed.

Marjory’s garden is a garden located at the back of MSD’s campus, that for many years was underutilized. In the last four years, the Marjory’s Garden Club was created, dedicated to revitalizing the garden to its full potential to create a space for students to relax, eat in and learn from.

Throughout the school year, clubs like the Astronomy Club utilized the garden in various ways. Astronomy club holds “astronomy nights” in the garden about monthly where they set up telescopes to observe the various different planets, stars and constellations. On April 7, they held their last night of the school year, but plan on continuing them when students return in the fall.

Local girl scouts attended the Astronomy night event on April 7. They were there in order to gain their badges that are related to science and astronomy. In order to do so the girl scouts went around Marjory’s garden performing scientific acts. In the future, girl scouts will be invited back to the garden for other events.

“They are interested in science, and so this is a great way for them to learn about science in a hands-on way,” astronomy teacher Kyle Jeter said.

Recently, the Climate Change Club held a movie night in Marjory’s garden, as the members felt the garden was the perfect place to hold such an event. The club watched “The Lorax,” which discusses the harmful effects of deforestation. Food and drinks were served complimentary to their five dollar tickets.

“It was a great experience. Everyone came with friends, so it was like going to the actual movies,” Climate Change Club President Raj Servaj said. “Everyone was given popcorn, a drink, and some candy, as well as a seed to plant at home. We are so glad a lot of people showed up.”

The movie night that was held is just the first of many more events Climate Change Club plans to hold in the garden in future school years. As the garden continues to expand and evolve the garden will hopefully become more and more utilized.

Drama club has also utilized the garden this year, playing songs and telling jokes during their coffee house night on Jan. 14. In the past, drama has held events such as Not So Scary Halloween nights, a Halloween themed night for students of the school and families of the community to fundraise for drama shows and competitions.

“In the garden we have done haunted high school nights where now it’s not so scary evenings where we have pumpkin painting,” Melody Hertzfeld said. “We have [also] done coffee house out there but we are so excited to continue that tradition moving forward.”

Recently, the school implemented classes into the garden’s daily uses. New classes, like botany, which will take place in the garden, will teach students hands-on about plants and other environmentally related subjects and will be available for students to take next school year as an elective.

To keep the garden well kept and maintained for the school and community to use, the club holds garden work days from 9:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. every Sunday. Members of the club or general students of MSD are welcome to volunteer and earn service hours; teachers can also attend.

The garden has been revived with colorful plants and peaceful seats to sit back in and enjoy the garden and its beautiful elements. Along with all the decorative gardening, it has also welcomed various new and exciting plants native to Florida that support local wildlife.

The Everglades section of the garden represents Florida’s wetlands and presents a few species native to the swamps.

The butterfly garden has experienced major upgrades to the flora and fauna and the fountain has been fixed and now it spouts water. They have planted various wildflowers for the native pollinators and butterflies. In addition, a mulberry tree was planted and a mango tree is hoped to make its way into the garden.

New edible plants have also been added; JROTC teacher Cornell Mark Anders has created a corn field and science teacher Branden Davis has been experimenting with new kinds of vegetables.

“We’re always trying different types of vegetables, that’s part of it. It’s a big science project in itself because we try different things to see what grows and what we can get by growing it,” Jeter said.

This new emergence of diversity and color to the grounds has invited many new people to the garden, including the swarms of students that come to use the plot on Wednesdays each week for lunch. At the start of the year, the garden was opened to students for lunch with teacher supervision; many English teachers have allowed their students to read in the garden with them while they eat.

“Spending time outside is beneficial itself, and doing academics in our garden offers a refreshing, healthy alternative to being indoors,” Marjory’s Garden vice President Jennifer Scheckowitz said.

Due to all of the positive changes that have been made over the past few months, the Marjory’s Garden Club will be holding an event on May 22 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. to thank those who donated to the garden’s well being.