Caring for Our Watersheds Virginia and Washington, DC, a local nonprofit dedicated to cleaning and protecting our water supply, awarded IDEA’s Green Club a grant of $400 to create a pollinator garden at IDEA. Scholars Jared Farmer, William Ellerbe, and Chris Plummer presented their proposal to plant a new school garden of pollinator plants in what is now IDEA’s parking lot. The garden would improve air quality, attract pollinators to increase plant growth, and eventually improve water quality in the Anacostia River. The scholars also expressed to the panel of judges their concern that, while they live close to the Anacostia River, they cannot swim in it because of the poor water quality.
The Green Club helps to cultivate IDEA’s indoor and outdoor gardens. Inside, basil is growing. Outside strawberries, kale, mint, and other fruiting plants and herbs are sprouting, thanks to Green Club scholars and IDEA’s partnership with Cultivate the City.
Cultivate the City’s Brian Filipowich, who advises the Green Club, has taught scholars about agriculture more broadly and in particular about aquaponics, which enables gardeners to grow nutritious food in an urban setting.
“Because of their work in the Green Club and their presentation to Caring for Our Watersheds, the scholars have a greater awareness of their role in improving their own environment,” Filipowich said.
Even after the school year ends, the plants will keep growing, and Filipowich and scholars who are working at IDEA over the summer will tend to the garden.