RACINE, Wis. — Jamillah Jallow spent a recent afternoon planting basil in a hydroponic grower.

What You Need To Know

  • Green School, a club at Walden III Middle and High School, wants to get their school as close to "zero emissions" as possible

  • They've worked to implement solar panels, they've planted trees, and they're working to grow plants using hydroponic methods

  • They have plans to build a greenhouse on the school's campus

  • They also want to start visiting elementary schools to teach younger students how they can be environmentally friendly and sustainable

As a junior at Walden III Middle and High School, she’s the president of the club “Green School.”

“We do a lot of great work with like, we’ve planted trees in the past, we had solar panels at our old building,” Jallow said. “[We’ve done] a ton of good work, work within the community as well, like picking up garbage, a lot of environmentalism and sustainability in our community.”

There are about 30 students in the club. It is student-driven by Jallow, and her friends Rebecca Richard and Eliana Hanson.

Growing things like basil and lettuce using only water is something the club wants to expand on by building a greenhouse on campus. 

“We’re hoping to put these plants once they’re sprouted and grown enough into the greenhouse and continue to grow them there, and then we wanted to use that for learning,” Richard said. “Like with biology, I’m in AP Biology currently, and we have to study plant cells so we could use these plants and put them under a microscope to study them.”

The club’s adviser, chemistry teacher Alexandra Harrah, said she’s proud that these students have been so driven. She said they even met with city leaders in Racine to help make the greenhouse idea an eventual reality.

“The feedback from it was very positive, so hopefully we are able to connect with more people,” Harrah said. “They had a lot of information that we didn’t have regarding like grants and federal funding we can apply for and help support our needs for getting solar panels and that kind of stuff.”

It’s exciting for the students, all three of which will be seniors next year.

Hanson said they also have to start teaching those who are younger than them too, by visiting elementary schools.

“Just stuff like turning off the lights and turning of your water, and we also want to do fun activities with them so they can see the value of nature and the environment and taking care of it,” Hanson said. 

That way, the work they’re doing now can be continued for generations of students to come.