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Gretna High School's hydro garden gives students opportunity to learn life skills and responsibilities

Posted at 9:40 PM, Feb 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-22 22:40:54-05

GRETNA, Neb. (KMTV) — Everyday, Zachary Orton's students like Luca Dickerson are hard at work helping maintain their hydro garden which is sustained by water and does not use soil.

"We basically observed everything that has been going on with the plants," Luca said. "We've been checking how much nutrition and water levels they have. We basically have been taking care of them since day 1."

It also gives Luca the opportunity to work with friends like Connor. while getting the jobs done.

"I have to watch like the pH and have to make sure the plants get enough water," Connor said.

Every student is assigned a task to keep the garden up and running. For Luca, it's an opportunity to get valuable experience.

"It teaches me to care more about nature and take all the chances I can get."

When I visited, students were removing seeds from jalapenos to plant. So far this semester, students have planted foods like lettuce and basil.

"So basically, I look at it like you have a job to do," Orton said. "You're going to be successful and have your plants grow so job completed. Or if you're not going to follow the task for the job, the plants will die off."

Orton hopes to expand his program next school year with the help of other students.

"I'd like some more peers to be involved with it to get them introduced to working with gen ed kids. It would be great if we could get everyone inclusive," Orton said.

And everything that happens here prepares students for life after high school.

"It's about the experience that you gain in the class that helps you out in the real word," Luca said.

At the end of the year, all food that's harvested will be used in the salad bar to recognize their hard work.

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