Madera High School Clubs clean up the garden

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Wendy Alexander / The Madera Tribune

Students from the Young Parents Club and the Hiking Club at Madera High School partnered with Netafim to help remodel the garden behind the campus science building. Netafim came on Wednesday to install an irrigation and drip system and also helped plant flowers and vegetables for the gardens.

For years, the area behind the science building on the campus of Madera High School was an area reserved for science teachers performing experiments or enjoying a break.

However, over time the area became overgrown with weeds and was unsightly.

Young Parents Club counselor Summer Gonzales and Hiking Club counselor Adriana Quintana saw the space as an opportunity to teach their students life lessons while providing them with a place to meet.

“The teachers and I are passionate about outdoor environments,” Gonzales said. “Not just for the sanity aspect, but we teach babies how to plant. When we saw this, it was a perfect opportunity to spruce up something on campus.

“They trimmed the plants and removed the bushes,” Quintana said of his students. “We cleaned and prepared.”

After a few months of work to clean up the area, Netafim came to donate irrigation lines and plants for the garden.

“What our business does is grow more with less,” said Sully Figueroa, director of environment, health, safety and sustainability for Netafim Irrigation. “We have the technology, especially in the central valley, where we have to grow more with less water because of the drought. We have smart technology with drip irrigation where you just water plants that need to be watered at the roots rather than wasting water and not watering at the roots.

Figueroa, who graduated from Madera High School in 2007, is proud to be able to give back not only to her school, but to other schools in the Central Valley.

“It’s great to be back,” she said. “My title is sustainability. This is a partnership with Fresno and Madera high schools. It’s great to give back to high school where I grew up and can make a difference.

Now that the garden has gone from something unsightly to something the students can be proud of, Gonzales and Quintana see happenings in the garden in the future.

“We want a place as teachers to enjoy beautiful greenery during our lunch and lecture times,” Quintana said. “We also want students to grow vegetables and plants. My vision is to allow students to enjoy it, like upper-class students.

“We’ve never had events here, but now we can start doing things,” Gonzales said.

In addition to giving teachers and students a place to have fun, the garden can potentially give students and teachers something to eat with the vegetables they have planted.

“We have a salsa garden so we can do salsa,” aide Autianna Hall said. “The plants will actually stay there and live. These are great skills to learn. I don’t know how to do this. Now I will know how to plant.

The garden was a place to fix, and in the end, the students made it into something they could be proud of.

“They’re proud of what they’ve been able to do,” Gonzales said. “It creates camaraderie, they become friends, they learn, they tell their parents. It’s still a work in progress. We want to do a reception for the teachers. It belongs to them.

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