Freshmen build greenhouse for Girl Scouts project


Mahi Kandage

The greenhouse made of plastic bottles, located behind the Millennium preschool.

Mahi Kandage, Sports Editor

Located down a dirt path behind Westford’s Millennium preschool is small greenhouse built entirely out of plastic bottles. The greenhouse was built by students at WA, freshmen Dhwani Shrivastava. Erin McEwan, and Emily Jordan.

The $650 project was funded by their The Roots and Shoots Foundation and The Westford Rotary Club. The structure was built by the girls to achieve their silver award, which Cadette Girl Scouts can earn for projects completed by small groups.

Shrivastava, McEwan, and Jordan came up with the idea for the greenhouse in 2015, while researching ideas for their silver award. They chose a project that would be beneficial to the community and was eco-friendly as well.

“We wanted to do something that would help the community, and help the environment.” said Jordan.

The trio began the project by researching, creating a list of the materials they would need, and planning the dimensions of the greenhouse in order to figure out how many supplies were needed. On a trip to Lowe’s, the girls purchased nails, screws, wood, and dowels, along with other building supplies.

The girls listed collecting the bottles to be the most difficult part of the process, as they needed to collect over two thousand bottles. They requested donations from family and friends. They placed a box for water bottle donations at the Stony Brook school; however, the majority of their bottles came from Bridges by Epoch, an assisted living facility for people with memory loss.

Another difficulty with the bottles was cleaning them properly.  According to Jordan, many of the bottles were coated in sugar, which attracted plenty of bugs to the greenhouse.

Collecting the bottles was a lengthy process, but attaching them to the frame after cutting off the top and bottom was quite simple, as was building the main structure.

“After we put the bottles on the frames, installing the frames was quick.” Shrivastava said.

However, before the construction began, the students were required to acquire authorization from the town. They contacted Superintendent Everett Olsen to approve the project and find a suitable location to build the greenhouse.

Though the girls originally planned to build at Bridges on Littleton Road, they were not permitted to do so by the facility.

“They, however, continued to support us by providing us with hundreds of plastic bottles,” said Lynne McEwan, the leader of Girl Scout Troop 60560.

After exchanging a few emails and a meeting with Olsen, the project was approved for construction at the Millennium preschool.

The greenhouse can be found a few feet behind the school on a grassy field down a dirt path, where the buses pick up the students.

As a part of their project, the girls also placed binders filled with lesson plan ideas and books focused on nature and gardening.

“We also held a community book drive to support the lesson plans,” said McEwan.

The girls also collected books, donated by the Westford community, as well as tables and gardening supplies, which were financed by the Roots and Shoots Foundation and the Westford Rotary.

As for the future plans for the greenhouse, it will be maintained by the school and used as an additional learning classroom.

Although the girls only used 626 dollars out of the 650 dollar budget, they plan to spend the remaining funds on the supplies the schools need.

“We’re handing it over to the preschool now so that they can use it however they wish,” Jordan said.