Port Angeles High School Student Garden Project Flourishes Through Partnerships

Port Angeles High School Student Garden Project Flourishes Through Partnerships
Posted on 07/05/2019
Port Angeles High School Student Garden Project Flourishes Through PartnershipsThe student garden project continues to take shape on the southern part of the Port Angeles High School campus.  Last year, a concrete pad was poured in preparation for the eventual construction of a greenhouse.  More recently, the entire garden area was enclosed with wooden fencing constructed by Construction Technology students from Peninsula College.

The garden will be a formal outdoor classroom space which will house portions of the school’s Native Studies program, led by PAHS instructor and Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe member Jamie Valadez, as well as portions of science and Career and Technical Education (CTE) curriculum.  Student clubs will also have access to the space.  The garden will feature a greenhouse, an outdoor classroom structure with tables and benches, raised beds, ADA accessible paths, and demonstration gardens utilizing sustainable gardening methods for the community to also learn from and enjoy.  The formal entry way was purchased by a grant from the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and will feature traditional Salish carving, designed and created by our students, with the guidance of a master woodcarver.

a man and his mower

The garden is a community investment in project-based learning about local traditional cultures, sustainable food systems, and alternative energy sources.  All students will have opportunities to contribute to the garden.  The opening of the garden space will coincide with the beginning of a climate change educational focus for the 2019-20 school year at Port Angeles High School. 

water hookup

An irrigation system was installed by District maintenance crew in June, and volunteers will continue working on the raised beds over the summer.  Before the school year came to an end, students helped dig out an area for a tool shed.  “It was the first time some of these kids had handled a shovel,” commented PAHS instructor Shawne Johnson.  “It was a new experience for them.”

shawne and nolan

“A Healthy Schools grant from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) brought in some big money for this project, as well as a generous bequeath from the Willard Muller Family through Kiwanis of Port Angeles, and a local Safeway grant,” explained Johnson.  “We were also able to secure a Potlatch Grant through the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe for bringing in traditional woodcarving for students.”

“The plan is that eventually students will be growing some of their own food in the raised beds and learning first-hand about nutrition, traditional plants and their uses, and how to landscape for supporting wildlife and attracting native pollinators,” continued Johnson.  “We’ll begin planting with students in the fall.”

For local organization that plan a service day each year and would like to contribute to a garden work party and the building of this outdoor classroom space, please contact PAHS garden coordinator Shawne Johnson at sjohnson@portangelesschools.org.

Photos by Patsene Dashiell/Port Angeles School District
PAHS Garden Project 018 Time Smith – Maintenance team member Tim Smith works on a control box for the newly installed irrigation system in the student garden.

PAHS Garden Project 005 – Teacher Shawne Johnson (left) and Maintenance Director Nolan Duce discuss details of ongoing work as the Port Angeles High School student garden continues to take shape.

PAHS Garden Project 020 Rodger Johnson – Teacher Rodger Johnson tackles the overgrowth on a rider mower in the PAHS student garden.