Students living in Cornell's William Keeton House on West Campus haven't just been doing their homework, they've been collecting plastic soda bottles -- more than 900 of them. And they turned them "green" April 10 when they recycled them into walls for a sustainable greenhouse at the Ithaca Children's Garden in Cass Park.
At the community build, the students cleaned, cut the ends off and stuck the bottles on bamboo dowels. They attached the panels to a 5-by-6-foot wooden frame they had previously constructed from rot-resistant, locally harvested black locust using a $2,000 grant from the Community Partnership Board, a Cornell student organization that funds student-run grassroots community-service projects.
The result is a greenhouse for starter flower and vegetable plants as well as a home to protect vegetation from being eaten by rabbits and deer, according to Dayna Zolle '11, a government major and author of the grant proposal.
The three-acre garden offers education classes, tours and workshops for the community and includes a giant turtle play structure and wetland, an edible herb garden, a labyrinth and a bird habitat. The project is the first in what Keeton House residents plan to be a ongoing relationship with the Ithaca Children's Garden.
"The long-term impact of this sustained partnership will be that it will help to create a culture of service for Keeton residents as well as supporting the development of the Ithaca Children's Garden," said Rammy Salem '10, a Keeton House student assistant, government major, Public Service Center scholar and president of the Student Assembly.