Christa McAuliffe School/ Reservoir ProjectLocation: Jersey City, New Jersey
Ages of the children who work in the garden: 12-14
The garden was established on December 3, 2010.
Great work!! Read about their project in their own words below and watch their video submission:
Initially, our garden started because of Project Reservoir, our community based project. Our gardens came into place when we wanted to reintroduce cattails, a native species to the Reservoir, which disappeared due to the presence of invasive phragmites. We thought growing what most people refer to as a pond weed would be easy, but we were definitely wrong. We established various growing stations for the cattails within our school and we attempted, many times, to grow them from seeds. After much trial and error we were successful but now faced the challenge of placing them at the Reservoir next to the plants that destroyed them years ago.
We applied what we learned in social studies class based on the Aztec civilizations and on February 1, 2012 we created our own floating gardens called Chinampas. We determined that if the cattails had any chance of slowly reintroducing themselves at the Reservoir they would have to be grown hydroponically, away from their enemy. We designed, built, and launched two four by five foot Chinampas, stocked with the cattails that we raised from seed within our school. We have checked and measured the cattails throughout this year's growing season and all of the plants are growing great and propagating naturally within the Chinampa.
We utilize the success of our gardens, both in school and at the Reservoir, to teach students, community members, and all others who visit our website about invasive species, plant propagation techniques, and hydroponic options for gardening. Members of the community, especially from the Reservoir Preservation Alliance, are extremely happy with our reintroduction of cattails.
We know that we will be able to connect more of our community with the Reservoir through the creation of our Community Chinampas. Community members that visit the Reservoir on days when canoeing is available will have the opportunity to paddle to our Community Chinampas and pick out some tomatoes for free. In the process, they will learn about our project and appreciate the beauty that is Reservoir #3 in Jersey City, NJ. We hope they will then spread the word to others and we can expand our Chinampas to include different types of fruits and vegetables. Our floating gardens will also serve as a basking site for native turtles and a shelter area for smaller fish.