Ponderosa High School is an alternative school in Flagstaff for 11th and 12th grade students. There are approximately 50 students that attend the school. The garden at Ponderosa is located in a fairly large greenhouse on campus. No one is quite sure how the greenhouse was built on campus but it sat unused for about two years.
Now, the greenhouse is their classroom, equipped with a white board and all. The students there want to make their school a model and so far they are doing a pretty good job. The greenhouse was built a few years ago and is powered by wind turbines and solar panels. A water catchment system that collects rainwater from gutters on opposite sides of the greenhouse funnels it into a 4 foot deep 2600 gallon tank in the middle of the greenhouse. They grow many things including artichokes, garlic, tomatoes, spices, watermelon, a variety of house plants, and many pine tree seedlings.
Their main project right now is to replant a burnt area near their school from a fire in the summer of 2010. The students and volunteers have grown thousands of seedlings in their greenhouse and have planted about 200 so far. They have made many other accomplishments over the course of this last year. They recycle plants and materials and also have a successful compost pile. They built trellises that hang from the ceiling to help plants like tomatoes to grow. They built two tiered benches for supplies and planting and were recently donated a shed to hold materials. If you visit the students can teach you about trimming and planting and how to efficiently water. With John Taylor as their facilitator and a very supportive and involved principle this school has lots of potential to grow even more.
-Contribution by Dani Zerr, NAU student