The Fossil garden gets more than a makeover


C. Sears

Weeks away from the last day of school, the team works to finalize the structure before summer.

Caroline Sears, News Director

Funded by the Poudre School District Foundation in 2012, the garden has weathered through the past nine years. But this year, the garden is getting more than just spring cleaning. 

With no one to maintain it, the garden fell to ruin during quarantine. 

Kim Eberhart works as an Integrated Learning Services educator and manages the garden.

She calls the effects “devastating.” 

Claiming, “it took away 2 years of our progress and 2 years worth of growing and selling our products and students gaining those experiences. We have spent this spring just trying to clean up the rodent nests, wasp nests and weed growth that has occurred.” 

The future of the garden is centered around recovery. Eberhart plans to continue growing the program despite the recent setbacks, even hoping for another grant or potential donation to expand it.

This year, some students are taking action to help out. Jesse Oswald’s STEM seminar class promises students a chance to impact their community with individual projects and one team, led by Tali Hendrickson, chose to rebuild the walls of the old greenhouse with used bottles after seeing that a previous group had failed to finish the construction. Even enlisting help from their neighbors by asking for bottle donations on the app “NextDoor.”

Every season looks different for the garden

The team began working during the second quarter of year, as is days away from finishing. (C. Trujillo)

and the students who look after it. The Farmers Market class, taught by Eberhart, grows fruits and vegetables to sell in the spring. “We start them from seed, transplant them into containers, and finish growing them in the greenhouse,” she described. 

Over the summer, a few students are hired to maintain the garden. “Then in the fall when welcome back [students] we harvest our food and use it for cooking lessons and to make our world-famous salsa,” she said.

The team leader, Tali Hendrickson has stayed motivated throughout the final days of the project, stating, “knowing that it really will go to good use is helpful when we have felt stressed.”

The project has meant a lot to the entire team. “There have definitely been a lot of laughs and bonding moments like trying to work outside in rain and snow and bitter cold when it felt like we were going to lose some fingers or toes by the time we went back inside,” Hendrickson laughed. 

Chloe Trujillo is a part of that team. She stated, “it’s awesome to have a hands-on learning experience and to watch work pay off so that future classes can use it,” The team has been working every class period, from cleaning and cutting bottles to building up each side. Trujillo also recognizes the value in maintaining a positive attitude, as the work is oftentimes demanding; “hopefully it will pay off,” she said.

The greenhouse will serve to protect certain crops from harsh weather during all seasons. (C. Trujillo)

She envisions the garden as a place for future science classes to grow things like flowers and fruits and vegetables. By the end of the year, this will be a reality.

Over the summer, a few students will be hired to maintain the garden. “Then in the fall when [we] welcome back [students] we harvest our food and use it for cooking lessons and to make our world-famous salsa,” Eberhart said.

As Oswald’s class places the final bottle, they remember why they began the project in the first place. Hendrickson cites a foundational love for the outdoors and a supportive team for their success. Ultimately, Hendrickson hopes that all future students “will be able to find the same love for the Earth,” through the garden.