By Maya ’22
As you walk from the parking lot to the Quad on the Harvard-Westlake upper school campus, you will most likely notice a couple of white, cylindrical structures on your left, surrounded by ground vegetation like strawberries, parsley, and rosemary. The cylinders have little pockets, with plants of all shapes and sizes spilling out. As you get closer, you can hear the trickling of water as it spills throughout the cylinder. These are the hydroponics towers, put together and maintained by the upper school Environmental Club.
The Environmental Club strives to raise awareness about environmental issues and sustainability in the Harvard-Westlake community. We maintain the hydroponics system, organize community service events, invite guest speakers, write for the environmental newsletter, and run the community garden (and compost bins) in addition to weekly club meetings. In the past, we have grown fruits and vegetables such as radishes, bok choy, chard, chives, and lettuce! We also just completed a harvest from our hydroponics system and had a radish and bok choy party to celebrate! At club meetings, we have broader discussions about climate change and global warming, with a focus on implementing solutions around campus and at home.
Our most recent guest speaker, Dennis Mabasa, is an environmentalist and Director of Education at Friends of the Los Angeles River. They came to talk about careers in environmental science, their experience in the field, and how Harvard-Westlake students can get involved in sustainability initiatives. They also brought The River Rover with them, an interactive exhibit about the importance of the LA River, its history, its impact on the community, as well as its partnership with Harvard-Westlake and the new River Park campus.
Recently, we had a beach-cleanup event partnered with Heal the Bay, where we visited the Santa Monica Heal the Bay museum to learn about initiatives that students can participate in, as well as the wildlife and vegetation that calls the Pacific Ocean home.
The Environmental club is a great place for students to make friends and engage in activities that they are passionate about. Everyone is welcome to join (and make requests for plants to put in the hydroponics system)!