Heart of Nature, an environmentalist club, is building raised garden beds in hopes to involve students on campus.

The members at Heart of Nature are getting their hands dirty.

Heart of Nature, a club aiming to raise awareness for the environment on campus, is renovating the school garden to make it an accessible space for students on campus.

Club president Magnolia Fiore took over the club two years ago with a dream to completely redesign the school garden.

The club has begun building raised garden beds with drought-responsible irrigation systems by using olla pots.

They initially started with seven raised garden beds to test how committed the students are and any possible errors that may occur along the way.

“We didn’t want to invest in a garden and it being floppy,” said club advisor and science teacher Ms. Jennifer Kim. “We want to test a little bit and grow, and hopefully not only will the Heart of Nature be involved, but the classes will be involved, the culinary arts be involved---that’s the hope.”

The garden beds are reserved for both Ms. Kim’s science classes and members of the club to grow whatever they want. Ultimately, Fiore hopes to make the garden beds interactive for all students on campus.

“In the long run, we want to make a space that everyone can use, and we have been flirting with the idea of creating a plaza where we could possibly host movie nights, or have a picnic with live music. We are also working on getting wheelchair access out to the beds so all students can take part,” she said.

However, these ideas are long term, and the club is focusing on getting the funding and structure they need to make the garden beds sustainable and strong enough to last.

In a time when climate change’s effects are growing prominent in society, the club aims to use systems that will benefit the environment.

“Instead of drip irrigation or watering, we’re planting ollas to save water because what is going to happen is water leaks across the barrier and the plants' roots will naturally grow to it,” said Ms. Kim. “That was originally used in ancient technology to conserve water, like people growing food in Africa or the deserts.”

Fiore and Ms. Kim believe in the benefits of individuals growing their own produce.

“Growing your own vegetables would cut down emission costs from all those planes and trains and cars transporting all the vegetation. It will give a sense of reality of how difficult it is to raise your food, how difficult it is to be conscious of what you’re eating. It doesn’t just come from the grocery store,” said Ms. Kim.

Fiore believes gardening can make a big difference in the fight against climate change. She is excited to teach students how to grow their own food, a life skill she believes to be beneficial to individuals.

Alumni students Katherine Kleiman and Katheleen Agurirre, sophomores at Los Angeles Valley College, have also begun participating in redesigning the garden for a communications project.

“The project is about having a long lasting impact on Earth and leaving it in a better place,” Kleiman said.

Kleinman does not only want to help improve the planet but she also wants to work with the students.

“This project is not only about nature, but it's actually helping students in high school,” she said. “We wanted to help nature, but now we're helping nature by having students get involved with the process.”

Agurirre wants to enhance to garden that she made from when she was involved in the club as a high school student.

“I remember when I was here the first time around, the garden didn’t turn out so well. We kind of just jumped into it, not really knowing what we were doing,” Agurirre said.

Kleinman and Agurirre hope to get students more involved in beautifying the school.

“I would hope that this inspires students to want to get more involved with the garden, to want to make their school look prettier in the front,” Agurirre said.

The garden is located near the fence bordering Cedros Ave. and Hamlin Ave. So far, the garden beds have been mulched. The club recently received funding from Principal Yolanda Gardea, enabling members to resume gardening.

Heart of Nature also hosted a Build-A-Button fundraiser on the quad at lunch on Thursday and Friday, where students created their own custom buttons, to raise more funds for the project.

For students interested in getting involved, Fiore recommends contacting her or Ms. Kim in room 201.

“The absolute best way to get involved with the gardening would be to get in contact with me or Ms. Kim so you are aware of when we have meetings and when we actually do gardening events,” said Fiore.