If you take Bio 345 (Sustainable Gardening) be prepared to get your hands dirty with Dr. Peggy Pollack. This class meets every semester Fall, Spring, and Summer. The class offers a hands-on learning experience of sustainable gardening including catching rain water, composting, using organic pesticides, and more. The garden grows perennials, annual vegetable crops, and herbs. The local community supports the garden helping them to buy buy a chipper, 3000 gallon water tank, and other supplies for the garden.
Students conduct research projects in the garden. For example, one project involves growing plants in bales of straw instead of soil, which can shed light on the process of growing food in urban environments where space is limited, natural soil is scarce, and potting soil is expensive.
Dr. Peggy Pollak, who teaches the sustainable botany course and cares for the Shand Garden, receives a lot of positive feedback from students who work in the garden.
“Every semester, I ask my students, ‘Why garden?’” Pollak says. “Satisfaction, pride in producing something yourself, getting your hands dirty, and having a lasting, positive impact on NAU. These are all things students love, and that’s what sustainable gardening can provide.”