Garden Club springs back to life and begins beekeeping project

Members of the Garden Club prepare beds for planting outside of Juniper Hall. Photo by Madeleine Newton

This year, the Lewis & Clark Garden Club has experienced a resurgence in activity and has been active in bringing garden spaces around campus to life. 

Lucas Martinez ’20 is the president of the Garden Club this year after taking it upon himself to rejuvenate the club. Martinez was exposed to gardening from a young age, and his passion for it has persisted. 

“I grew up gardening with my dad … I started getting more involved with gardening on my own when I was studying abroad (in Chile) last semester,” Martinez said. “I was volunteering at a garden at a Catholic university there. That’s where I really started reflecting on the importance of (gardening) in my life.”

Martinez wanted to see more consistency in the Garden Club, as its level of activity has fluctuated in the past few years. 

Emma Hay ’20 took the position of vice president of the club this summer after Martinez reached out to others interested in revamping the club. 

Hay has been gardening since high school and has been active in the club this year, helping to organize work parties for clearing out existing garden spaces and making them ready to plant. 

“We have two garden spaces, one by Forest dorms and one on South Campus (which we) cohabitate and work with grad students on helping to clear those spaces,” Hay said. “(During the) work parties we just have music and get a bunch of tools and gloves and we all pull weeds.” 

In addition to getting the spaces ready for future planning, the club has made a community dinner from the crops already grown in the gardens..

“(We recently did a) harvest and dinner,” Hay said. “We made homemade tomato salsa and baked some squash and pumpkin seeds.”

Ivy Burt ’23 joined Garden Club because gardening has been a part of her life since childhood. 

Burt enjoys the inclusive atmosphere of the club and the community that quickly formed.

“You’re not singled out for being a freshman,” Burt said. “It’s not very hierarchical …  everybody just shows up and can go be in the earth and play with plants.” 

This year, the Garden Club is embarking on a beekeeping project on campus in conjunction with Students Engaged in Eco Defense (SEED). 

Mateo Kaiser ’23 has been involved with getting an Associated Students of Lewis & Clark (ASLC) student initiative grant to fund the beekeeping project. The project will include planting wildflowers native to Oregon around campus for the bees to pollinate. Members of the Garden Club will maintain these flowers and members of both Garden Club and SEED will tend to the hives. 

“(The goal of this project is) to establish an ongoing and thriving apiary on campus,” Kaiser said via email. “Having a beehive on campus gives students the opportunity to learn about beekeeping … as well as providing honey. Pollinator populations have also increasingly been on the decline …  (so) it is important to do as much as we can to help sustain them.”

The Garden Club hopes to start the hive in spring 2020.

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