Senior Helps VHS Stay Green

Some students go home during their free period, some go to the art room or library, but senior Lucas Freschi often spends his spare time in the VHS greenhouse.

The greenhouse, located adjacent to science teacher Carl Cascone’s room, was put to use at the beginning of this school year for the first time in ten years. Lucas is currently the president of the Environmental Club at VHS, assuming the role after his older brother graduated in 2012. He has been a member of the club for all four years of high school.

With the help of other members of the club, Lucas has many jobs he must carry out in order to help the plants in the greenhouse thrive. He explained how plants are very sensitive to light and how it is important to regulate the amount of light they receive. He waters the plants, regulates the air temperature, and monitors the quality of the air along with air circulation.

“Without good air circulation, fungus can grow and the plants can actually get sick,” Lucas explained.

The Environmental Club makes their own soil that which is comprised of peat moss and organic fertilizer. Everything the club uses is organic.

Among the many things produced in VHS’s very own operating greenhouse are vegetables, herbs, and flowers such as poppies, wildflowers, bell peppers, onions, lettuce, and basil.  Anything that is not eaten by the members of the club or given to teachers is brought home by Lucas or the members of the Environmental Club.

The club itself consists of twenty members and they are responsible for all of the recycling efforts at VHS and also collect compost to be used in the greenhouse.

In addition to being president of the Environmental Club, Lucas also sits on the Verona Environmental Commission as the Student Liaison in conjunction with sophomore, Julia Capuano who also sits on the committee as a member, serving as “second in command.”

“We are basically the link between the town and the high school and we’ve actually been working on some projects. We actually just led a Peckman River cleanup behind F.N. Brown where a few members of the club were able to receive community service hours for helping out,” Lucas said.

Working with the Verona Environmental Commission and with the VHS Environmental Club, Lucas and his fellow members plan on spreading awareness via social media about recycling and other relevant info regarding future projects and objectives of his organizations.

Lucas explained how the greenhouse at VHS is in a generally bad condition and that there has been talk of plans to re-do the greenhouse altogether and gain a little bit more funding aside from the $200 grant given by the SCA to the club and personal funds that Lucas generously donates to help the greenhouse continue to thrive and function properly.

His future plans include studying sustainable agriculture and/or outdoor leadership at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina which focuses on being environmentally friendly. His brother also follows a similar path and is currently studying sustainable agriculture at Evergreen State College in Washington State.