TribLIVE

| Neighborhoods

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Grant approved for greenhouse equipment at Charleroi Area Middle School

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
SUBMITTED
Students from Howard Johnson's science classes at Charleroi Area Middle School water plants in the school's greenhouse.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, 9:54 a.m.
 

Howard Johnson would collect water off the roof of the greenhouse behind Charleroi Area Middle School to water plants inside.

His seventh- and eighth-grade life science and outdoor environmental science students would take that water and water the plants inside the greenhouse.

But the science teacher needed a better watering system because the greenhouse had expanded tremendously.

“I decided why not pump that rainwater that is collected off the roof into 55-gallon tanks into the greenhouse,” Johnson said.

Johnson applied in September for a $1,213.66 grant from the Mon Valley Consortium for Public Education to fund purchase of the pumps. The grant was approved in mid-November. Johnson said the pumps will be installed soon so the students can use them by spring.

The pumps are on timers, operating similar to the misting system used in the produce section of a grocery store.

The environmental aspect of his class involves outdoor education, everything from operating an outdoor greenhouse to raised-bed garden beds and composting.

The classes do vermi-composting utilizing various species of worms and traditional composting, utilizing the school's usable garbage.

The dirt they produce from composting is intended to be used for planting.

Composting is the production of organic material that can be used as a soil amendment or as a medium to grow plants, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

There are several parts to the ecosystem built behind the middle school.

The first step was construction of a pond that was dubbed The Big Puddle.

The 1,000-gallon pond was built over one week in the spring of 2008.

The pond is home to snakes, frogs, butterflies, fish — and even a turtle.

The Big Puddle was funded in part by a grant from the Consortium for Public Education.

A Habitat House is also located there.

The greenhouse was built in 2010. The students mainly grow tomato and pepper plants there. Last year, they produced 2,000 tomato plants in the greenhouse.

And the program is stretching out to at least one other district in the county.

Johnson helps elementary-aged students in McGuffey School District with composting as a part of their environmental science classes.

He is a member of that district's agriculture curriculum committee, helping to design and enhance that curriculum.

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or cbuckley@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Mon Valley

  1. N. Charleroi man jailed in child sex case
  2. Mon Valley school districts wait out budget impasse
  3. Gilmore wore many hats during successful careers
  4. Director opposes increased cost of Ringgold project
  5. Washington Township firefighters make child’s dream come true
  6. 7 Up distributed from two Charleroi sites
  7. Monessen police, family looking for 17-year-old girl
  8. N. Belle Vernon man jailed after police station visit
  9. Mishandled ashes buried in Charleroi Cemetery
  10. Ramp helps wheelchair users enjoy activities on waterway in Marianna
  11. Americans with Disabilities Act anniversary marked in Donora