New Greenhouse Coming to WTMS Through Sustainable Jersey Grant


Hydroponic gardens were being built immediately before the school closed in March 2020 for the pandemic. Here a completed hydroponic system sits waiting to be installed in the new greenhouse.

Summer Baylock, Staff Reporter

A greenhouse is currently being built on the WTMS campus that will help the school expand their instructional focus on sustainability and hands-on learning. Although the building construction is fairly new, teachers and students are excited for what the new addition could mean.

“The greenhouse going up is huge,” said Green Team Committee Chair Mr. Weppler. “That will offer great opportunities for our students.”

This greenhouse is to grow plants and teach students maintenance how to tend with plants; this will build career readiness skills in the community. There will be hydroponic plants, as well as dirt-based gardening of both plants native to New Jersey as well as different plants like Moringa, a type of green native to Africa and Asia.  The plan is to encourage farm-to-classroom education for all students and to share some of these foods with the greater Winslow community, strengthening the home-school connection.

“We are starting to teach them about culturally responsible gardening,” said Green Team Grants Committee Chair Ms. Kiett. “There are a lot of different students who come from diverse backgrounds, so it’s amazing that in a greenhouse you can grow things that would normally not be found locally.”

The Environmental STEM program teaches students about the responsibility of keeping a community sustainable and healthy, which is why this program is given the duty to take care of this greenhouse. This includes maintenance and keeping tabs on each plant. STEM students will also be setting up the initial plantings before other classes. The Green Team’s goal, however, is that the greenhouse is open to all students, teachers, and staff. 

“It will be open for the entire school just like the gardens and the ponds,” said Kiett.  “So, we are hoping to utilize that for every subject.”

In order to install this greenhouse, Winslow received grants from Sustainable Jersey for Schools and other sources; in total these grants contributed $15,000 to the project. The other funds included money identified in the budget by Superintendent Dr. Poteat.  This was approved because of the years of work the school had previously put toward their sustainability instructional program; the greenhouse was a next step to have even more students involved.

“Just with the culmination of 6 years of hard work of producing grants through the hard work of the teachers and students”

Construction began as soon as grant monies were received. The construction was started in July 2020; currently the foundation has been built. It will be installed in the transportation parking lot, and the building is sized to hold a full classroom  of 25 people. That also includes the plants and greenery. Since Winslow Township Middle School is still in the early stages of construction, a date of completion is not set. Hopefully this will be wrapped up, and completed by the end of the school year.