Educational garden club in the works

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Students may soon be able to get back to their primitive roots and connect with nature through a new educational garden club being organized at Dixie State University.

The club is being formed by students and Bryan Stevens, an adjunct professor of life sciences, who will oversee activities and serve as its adviser. The club’s ultimate goal is to start a community garden on campus to create opportunities for students and for the public to be exposed to agriculture.

“Just imagine if we had a garden with all these fruits, veggies, herbs and the smell you get from all that,” Stevens said. “I want to develop hummingbird and butterfly gardens that are specific wildflowers that grow year after year and introduce diversity to the site.”

He said he would also love to create portable square foot gardens that could be rotated around campus so students could interact with a variety of items and generate a response. Stevens said he wants people to be able to walk by the garden, see it, and then grab the products of their labor.

It could also become a means of support for the student food pantry and “provide an opportunity of service for our students,” Stevens said.

“There are a lot of people that go to school here that can’t afford to make ends meet.”

Mike Prisbrey, a DSU applied technology college student from St. George, said he thinks it would be a good idea if the food is donated back to students. 

“Fresh vegetables are always good,” Prisbrey said.

In order to gain approval, students must first complete the application process by writing a mission statement detailing its vision to enhance the lives of students and the university, including a proposed schedule of upcoming events and a description of their five to 10 year plans, Stevens said.

“Once we become official, we are off to the races,” Stevens said. 

Students can begin working immediately in two off-campus locations operated by Stevens until a suitable location on campus can be found and approved by the university.

“There are a lot of people on campus that are passionate about it,” he said. 

Over 40 students have signed up for the club already, but he hopes student interest from many disciplines will grow once they are established.

“The club has to be diverse in its skill set to make this work,” Stevens said.

Students are expected to hold their first meeting to discuss the procedures and the roles of potential members this week, he said.

Possible duties of members could include working in the garden, fundraising, educating students and area residents, and establishing relationships with local schools for outreach programs and satellite gardens.

“The hope is that we can show the university there is a need,” Stevens said. “When people think of gardening, they should think of our university.”

Interested students should contact Stevens at [email protected] for more information on upcoming events.