In 2008, I became the Chair of the PTSA Landscape Committee of the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.
In 2013, my last student graduated from TJHSST and so did I. My student is headed for new learning experiences at UChicago. All of the TJ gardens we’ve tended for the past 7 years have been dug up and the plants conserved in raised beds awaiting the “new” TJ of 2017.
Until the TJ renovations are complete, the plants will be conserved by the new Landscape Chairs Laura Noble and Shawn Lucas with help from parent volunteers and students.
TJHSST Gardening History:
We maintained six gardens on campus: The Main Entrance Courtyard; the Millennium Courtyard; the Aud Lob Courtyard; and the Water Wise Hill and Native Plant Hill. These gardens were designed and cultivated by TJ parent and student volunteers without pesticides, or herbicides, to provide a healthy ecosystem for native insect pollinators and plant material. One of our goals was to demonstrate that landscape can be environmentally responsible and still look terrific.
The Landscape Committee’s gardening efforts began in 2005 with an Eagle Scout project to provide paths and garden beds in the Main Entrance Courtyard; in 2006 the Millennium Courtyard was designed and planted; in 2007 the Water Wise Garden below the TJ sculpture was designed and planted; in 2008 the Native Hill Garden was designed by Master Gardener Carol Miranda and planting begun; and in 2009 the Aud Lob Courtyard and Main Courtyard gardens were enhanced. Much of our plant material has been donated by volunteers and local nurseries.
Our gardens were recognized in 2010 as a Fairfax County Master Garden Youth Garden Project. We have identified over 100 different native and ornamental plant varieties in our gardens, and have begun to label them in the gardens. Our future goals include providing maps and individual plant information sheets for each of our gardens.
Since 2011 we have had an active student club, the Cultivators of the Earth, whose members assist in our gardening efforts, and improve our TJ community through composting and other eco-savvy gardening techniques.
Visit our website at http://www.tjhsst.edu/supportingtj/ptsa/comm-landscape.htm or go to the TJHSST Tech Cetera newsletter for up-to-date info: www.tjhsst.edu/supportingtj/ptsa/newsletter.htm