Gardening In Groups: Earth Club, Collaboration, and Growth


Truwe Esser, Staff Writer

Photos courtesy of West Seattle High School Earth Club

WSHS’ Earth Club is based around helping keep our environment and planet clean and sustainable. Earth Club has had many large successes and is currently working towards many goals, but their overarching mission is focused on making the world a greener place. Organization, funding, arranging, and planning for the club’s activities and meetings are completely student led and managed.

Earth Club is one of the oldest, longest standing clubs at West Seattle. Over the years, Earth Club has had many successes, however, it has also had its challenges. The club has an attendance rate that far supersedes almost any other group at the school, with an average of around 60 members a week attending. The key to success so far in Earth Club has been the wide range of interactive activities. Educational presentations, gardening, and even crafts make every member useful. The club has also found regular ways to expand outside of the school like trash pickups, hikes, and conferences.

This wide variety of options help anyone and everyone get involved in the club in some way. Earth Club is one of the most inclusive clubs as well, trying to be as accessible as possible for everyone. They recently achieved their biggest goal, establishing and improving the West Seattle High School garden, in the process installing 3 new spacious garden beds and planters, and painting a bench and a full set of chairs. New starters were also planted in the beds. 

One of Earth Club’s biggest funding achievements was last year’s bake sale, raising a total of about $600 dollars. Lizzy Greene says, “Our total club budget, including fundraising and grants, is approximately $3,000-4,000.” Some goals that Earth Club is working towards is planting and growing edible and more useful plants in the beds. They hope to make the space of the garden a more active space. Carmen Gray, Earth Club president, explained their process in choosing a project: “We are hoping that these improvements will make the garden more of a community space where people can hang out and learn about plants.” 

Earth Club also has been planning a larger project: attempting to set up a composting system in the school bathrooms, by which they’ll be able to compost used paper towels. Gray also mentions that, “…this has been a long-term project that will require school-wide participation and education but it is certainly attainable.”

Earth Club has had to work very hard to achieve their goals; they wouldn’t be where they are now without having to face at least one challenge. With such a large average of attendees at the meetings, there were struggles to find ways to involve everybody, However, Earth Club leadership has found a way to resolve problems like this. They have found that more focused, smaller groups split off from the main group are much more successful then trying to complete activities as a whole. 

Another challenge that Earth Club has faced and overcome was funding based. In the past, funding in Earth Club got in the way and prevented growth, maintenance, and work on the garden. As a result, last year, the club spent a lot of time focused on fundraising and applying for grants. Putting in the work last year has given the club much more time, effort and flexibility that can be directed back into the development of the garden, as well as an upcoming Earth Club concert on June 23rd.