Hingham students turn to bulbs in push for greenhouse funding
Hingham High School students are making a final push to raise money for their long-delayed $100,000 greenhouse. This time they are willing to barter for it.
According to a press release from Hingham High’s principal, Paula Girouard-McCann, students are asking for donations, and in return have offered to plant bulbs.
The “Bulb Squad,’’ formed by members of the Student Council, will plant 10 bulbs for a $50 donation, 15 bulbs for $75, 25 bulbs for $100, 40 bulbs for $150, and 55 bulbs for a $200 donation to their project.
The hope is that the donation-labor exchange will be enough to raise the nearly $18,000 still needed to reach their goal. And if all goes well, the greenhouse will be standing by year’s end.
Hingham High science teacher Dana McNamee began the greenhouse project after winning a National Geographic and SunChips grant for $20,000 in the spring of 2009.
Yet elation soon turned to dismay as students and staff realized the money would only be a fifth of the amount needed to build the structure. The cost for the top part alone ranges from $22,000 to $25,000.
Since then, Hingham students have raised $12,000 on their own. And a $50,000 anonymous donation in May put the project within reach.
Even though they still have to raise more money, McNamee said, “The project is going out to bid on Oct. 12. So all bids are going to have a deadline by Nov. 9, and that should buy us the structure complete with the water, plumbing, and electricity, but it doesn’t include anything inside, which is where the rest of the funding would come in,’’ she said.
The structure could be up as soon as mid-December, something McNamee and her students sometimes doubted would ever occur.
“We are dying to see this thing built,’’ McNamee said. “I’m beside myself with excitement with the idea of it going up in 2011. I’ve gotten used to drawbacks and hold-ups and red tape, and to think the end is just around the corner is slightly overwhelming.’’
The brick and aluminum building will be in the front right corner of the high school, across from the baseball fields.
Class of ’11 seniors, who won’t see the project that they worked on during their high school years finished completely, will have their efforts and support recognized by having their names engraved on a plaque once the greenhouse is built.
Optimistic that the bids will come within the current budget, McNamee said students have moved on to planning the next phase, filling the greenhouse.
The Hingham Education Foundation has given the project a $3,000 grant for supplies and gardening materials once the greenhouse is erected, although that money is tied to a yearlong timeframe.
In addition to the Bulb Squad, Responsible Energy Action Coalition of Hingham will sponsor a showing of the movie “The Vanishing of the Bees,’’ collecting suggested donations of $5 for the project.
McNamee said some students have told her “[t]hey can’t wait to have class in the building. . . . They just want to see it and use it and get in there and make it our own.’’
Jessica Bartlett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.