Philipstown Garden Club Renovates Haldane’s Greenhouse

By Elise LaRocco and Linda Speziale

Haldane now has a working greenhouse for middle school science classes thanks to the Philipstown Garden Club.

PGC’s Jennifer Mercurio rolls a new portable plant stand down a ramp at Haldane's greenhouse. Photo courtesy of PGC

PGC’s Jennifer Mercurio rolls a new portable plant stand down a ramp at Haldane’s greenhouse. Photo courtesy of PGC

Getting the greenhouse operable was no easy task. But new PGC members decided to take it on. “Traditionally new PGC members get together and pick a project that helps the community,” said Linda Speziale a Haldane parent and new PGC member who spearheaded the project. “I had heard for years about the greenhouse and thought it was time. So did Brent Harrington, the elementary-middle school principal.”

Greenhouses ideally are built on the south side to optimize sun exposure, but Haldane’s was built on the north end. With a little ingenuity, design and grow lights, a team of new PGC members came up with a successful plan.

Under recommendations and designs by the PGC group, the school’s Facilities employees painted, updated the plumbing and electricity, and installed a new sink, shelves, grow lights, and multiple-shelved portable plant stands (designed by PGC member and interior designer Stephen Hutcheson.)

PGC’s Annie Patton, Haldane science teacher Mark Wick, PGC’s Diane Mary, Principal Brent Harrington, PGC’s Linda Speziale, PGC’s Stephen Hutcheson, Haldane science teacher Leah Horn, PGC’s Jennifer Mercurio, PGC’s Penny Seekircher, PGC president Beverly Leardi, Assistant Principal Julia Sniffen, PGC’s Elise LaRocco and PGC vice president Anne Endler. Photo by Maggie Benmour

PGC’s Annie Patton, Haldane science teacher Mark Wick, PGC’s Diane Mary, Principal Brent Harrington, PGC’s Linda Speziale, PGC’s Stephen Hutcheson, Haldane science teacher Leah Horn, PGC’s Jennifer Mercurio, PGC’s Penny Seekircher, PGC president Beverly Leardi, Assistant Principal Julia Sniffen, PGC’s Elise LaRocco and PGC vice president Anne Endler. Photo by Maggie Benmour

The wooden stands are on wheels and can be rolled out of the greenhouse down a ramp for easy outdoor access by an entire class. A ventilation system connected to a thermometer will be installed soon, to keep the greenhouse from getting too hot and burning fragile seedlings. The Haldane School Foundation provided a grant toward the renovation.

The project will continue to be a process, as Haldane’s science teachers begin to weave its presence into student work, and the Haldane Garden Club will begin to use the greenhouse to propagate plants for the Haldane Garden.

 “This is such a tremendous asset to our school,” Harrington said. “We’re so grateful to the Philipstown Garden Club for making this happen.”

Philipstown Garden Club is proud to have designed a functioning greenhouse that will bring the science and fun of working with plant life closer to young people for years to come.


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