After planting trees at school last year, I really couldn’t wait for the opportunity to do this type of project again. So, in early May my school was supported by the US Embassy, MaiMultVerde (a Romanian environmental organization) and Peace Corps to plant tress AND build a greenhouse! Now, I had never participated in building a greenhouse before but since my school was really eager to do this I thought this would be a good opportunity for me to learn and get my hands dirty. Of course, I didn’t realize the amount of work—more physical of course–the project would take.
If I haven’t demonstrated the amount of support my students have provided me during ANY of the projects let me tell you that they have been the most wonderful students to work with! To me, it seems like my students look forward to volunteering activities, they have so many ideas and are very good problem solvers.
While we had planted trees before at school, the greenhouse was a new project for all of us. First, we needed to collect 1,500 plastic bottles for the walls of the house. In the next week, students started bringing plastic bottles from home. The majority washed and took the label off which made the work later much easier. One Sunday, I went around town with some of my students to collect plastic bottles. It was a hot and exhausting day, but we nicely rewarded ourselves with ice cream :).
Getting ready to hit the town and collect all the bottles we could get our hands on
We collected around 140 bottles in 3 hours!
Once we had collected the majority of the bottles we decided to start the construction of the greenhouse. I had little to do with putting up the frame, I have no construction background unless you consider putting IKEA furniture together as “construction” , so I left it to the experts and took pictures, something I’m much better at.
The entire school got involved in this project so many things were going on at once:
A group of students were bringing the plastic bottles from the storage room to the constructions area
Other students were creating rows of bottles by sliding them into the garden canes
More kids working on with the bottles and garden canes and in the background others putting up the greenhouse walls
Another group was cutting the bottom of the bottles
Not all bottles were cleaned and still had labels on them, so that’s what another group was going…washing the bottles.
Of course, we needed a few laughs.
Moving right along, the students and teacher took control of the project
Remi working hard!
You see how happy the students are to work :)
After the first day we had half the house down and the students did such a good job at cleaning and placing the bottles in line for the next day!
The hardest part was putting up the roof
On the second day we still had a lot of bottle cleaning to do, glad to know the 5th graders were happy to work at it.
More teamwork, of course that’s what we are all about
You can see that by mid-day we had the door and other side of the greenhouse done
Students looking HAPPY again to work on this project!!! Love to see smiles
While we had some minor things to do to finish the greenhouse, all walls had been finished by the end of the second day!!!!!
The final project! Lovely, lovely greenhouse
The greenhouse took two days to finish…you think that’s a short time, well it is! We were only able to finish the house in such a short time because the entire school had a designated job. While some cleaned the bottles, other cut the bottom of the bottles, some created the rows for the walls and others put up the plastic bottle walls.
I should also mention that it was extremely hot those two days. Highly unlikely for early May but that was our luck! High 80s! We were all exhausted by the end of the second day, one of the teachers told me the following day that she had a nightmare where plastic bottles surrounded her!!!!!! Yeah, they were intense two days but now we can all be proud of the work we completed.
In the following days, the students with the biology teacher planted tomatoes. While I won’t be here to taste them, I can’t wait to hear how delicious they taste.
Students working inside the greenhouse
More hardworking students
A view from the outside
Taking a break to smile for the camera with my 5th grade students.
cleaning up the area near the greenhouse
It might look small, but we can fit a whole class in the greenhouse
Getting the ground ready for the greenhouse
Remi taking a break! He did so much work, always with a smile
Another hard worker, taking a break we all needed one.
Back to work
The 8th graders making sure the area is completely clean
The students took turn in the greenhouse, it was too hot for one student to work in there the whole time
You see how they always smile, and I swear I never tell them to
Walking back with friends
Here come the tomatoes
Finishing up the work in the greenhouse
The students standing under any shade they could find
All done with the greenhouse, time for more laughs
After all the work was done in the greenhouse, we moved to the second half of the project which was to plant trees. The school decided to create an outside classroom so students can engage in environmental or other outside activities during class time.
Cleaning up the area.
The trees, the wall of the outside classroom, had arrived.
Making sure the trees are straight
looks good to me
I think once the trees grow the outside classroom is going to look really neat.
Posing for the picture
Love seeing the classroom next to the greenhouse. In a few weeks, the school will place benches inside the classroom so the students can sit on.
We also planted trees in the other school I work, they also created an outside classroom. Other trees were placed in other areas around the school, accompanying the trees planted last year. The project took about three weeks to complete and there is talk of other environmental projects to follow. My final project at school, what a wonderful way to finish up.
One final picture:
At the end of the second day I went with one of the teachers to a restaurant in Novaci, and took a picture under a photograph of the Chicago skyline. Novaci and I were meant to be, no questions there!