STEM garden at Wadsworth Magnet shapes tomorrow’s problem-solvers.

One schoolwide science project at Wadsworth Magnet School for High Achievers is transforming the way students think about food, the environment and how both shape the modern world.

Wadsworth Magnet’s STEM garden program assures students put their science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills to good use by producing a wide variety of produce.

In addition to developing a green thumb, students learn how to sustainably grow vegetables and herbs, proper soil and water measurements and how to effectively achieve the highest yield of crops.

Originally started in the 2016-2017 school year, the garden has grown to feature sage, rosemary, basil, thyme, onions, strawberries, cabbages, kale, Swiss chard, red lettuce, turnips and more. Students grew these particular vegetables with the goal of donating them to the Lost-and-Found Youth Center, a local charity.

During Spring 2018, students will also grow tulips for Mother’s Day gifts to parents.

According to STEM lead coordinator and physical education teacher Jake Carlock, the overall goal of the garden is to raise environmental awareness in students. He said you can create drastic change by educating students and encouraging positive behaviors early in their academic career.

Carlock said students are amazed at how different vegetables look when organically grown as opposed to purchasing them at a supermarket.

“We are teaching tomorrow’s engineers, doctors and scientists,” Carlock said. “What better way to change tomorrow today than by learning through sustainable education and involving the community?”

Wadsworth Magnet’s STEM garden is the product of a community partnership between the school, the Captain Planet Grant and The Home Depot. The Captain Planet Grant provides constant academic and teacher resources to Wadsworth, while The Home Depot has provided all necessary building materials, including rain barrels for recycling water and 2-by-4 planks for building plant beds.

Carlock said the next phase of the garden will include an aquaponics system, where live fish help fertilize and replenish garden beds with nutrients.

“The garden is more than fulfilling its mission of being a STEM program and encouraging positive environmental change,” Carlock said. “Parents are getting involved, the neighborhood community garden is partnering with us and donating materials—the garden has opened entire community pathways for us.”