Saving the Planet One Plant at a Time

How students are spending time together and creating positive change


Provided by Hannah Leyva

Group picture left to right Jay Cravens, junior. Cass Ludwig, sophomore, Hannah Leyva, junior, Sudhi Kumar, sophomore, Ashley Appleberry, sophomore, Amelia Beharry, junior, Madi Sweeney, junior, Sonya Ahmad, junior.

RobyLane Kelley, Staff Writer

  The UMKC Gardening Club has humble origins, but ambitious goals.

  Starting in the Honors Program, Social Action Class President Hannah Leyva and the other founding members wanted to develop a way for students to help the environment. The idea sprouted as a way for students to make an “achievable” impact in their community.

  Treasurer Sudhiksha Kumar ran the numbers and discovered that the university spends an abundance of money mowing the grass on campus as often as they do. Leyva suggests that money would be better spent on “more native plants.” (RobyLane Kelley)

  “Our initial purpose was to introduce more native plants on campus,” Leyva said. “To start that, we removed the weeds from the student union rooftop garden, and we planted some native plants last April.”

  In addition to the native grasses, the students planted some milkweed for the monarch butterflies. During the monarch migration the butterflies will be able to stop on campus and have a peaceful snack in an urban area thanks to these agriculturist activists.

  During the colder months, members meet to paint pots. Unlike other pot painting events on campus, the gardening club doesn’t use clay pots. Instead, they opted to buy a cheaper alternative that guarantees every member has something to do. At the end of meetings like this, students are provided with soil and seeds so they can watch their plants grow.

  The group is as warm as the sun that helps their plants, welcoming strangers to join them. Leyva’s favorite events involve the rooftop gardens, and the turnout is always greater than they expect. 

“We’re expecting that it’s going to take hours and it maybe takes 30 minutes,” Leyva said. “We have so many people show up and it’s just astounding. It’s people we haven’t even met before. They just gather in a group, huddle up and work on a project as a team. It makes my heart happy.”

  While the group started as a way to save the environment it has grown into so much more. 

“The whole part of having a community garden is to have community,” Leyva said. “To see your purpose come into fruition is really great.”

  Looking forward, there will be more gardening events that students can join. The two events planned before the semester closes are Greens with Gardening Club: Thursday, March 16 at 5:30 p.m. and Planting Party + Meet the Execs: Friday, April 14, 5 p.m. Both events are visible on RooGroups for registration. 

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