Replanting what we lost

Erin Tsai, Staff Writer

Students in Northwood’s environmental science classes will help restore areas of the campus that were burned by the 2020 California wildfires as part of a landscaping design project.

“Dr. Roach was the one who first proposed the idea to me, and I immediately knew we had to make it happen,” environmental science teacher Megan Stuart said. “After all that we have been through this year—from the pandemic to our local fires—there is something so hopeful about finishing off the semester by putting new life into the ground.”

The landscaping designs were created through a group project intended to help students understand the role of naive species within local ecosystems, and the winning design will be implemented as a native garden in Northwood’s back parking lot. Not only did students have to work together to create an aesthetically appealing landscaping plan, but they also had to incorporate native Californian plants that would accommodate native animal species.

“That’s the purpose of this project from an academic standpoint,” Stuart said. “But I also really just wanted to give my students the opportunity to get outside and feel connected to our campus environment.”

Beyond learning the importance of native biodiversity, students also discovered how they as individuals could make a difference in the environment.

“This project is a great example of how we can reclaim land and promote biodiversity in the future,” AP Environmental Science student junior Kaitlin To said. “But more importantly, the landscaping project has taught me how easy it is to make changes in our community and how small changes can have great positive environmental impacts.”

Although Environmental Science is just one class out of many, Stuart hopes that her students can take this project as an experience of how students can make a difference in their community.

“Learning about environmental problems can feel really overwhelming, and it’s easy to question what we as individuals can really do to change things for the better,” Stuart said. “Even something as small as creating a native garden in the corner of our back parking lot is a change for the better.”