The department of agriculture and environmental science is building a greenhouse that will not only benefit students but also communities around Abilene.
Dr. James “Jim” Carpenter, department chair and associate professor, said that the greenhouse will be used mostly for plant science classes. Students will be able to get a much more hands-on experience without having to travel off campus.
The greenhouse will be located on the McDaniel property, which is two houses down from the ACU Police Department on Campus Court.
“The funding for this is due to COVID,” Carpenter said. Because students in the department have not been able to travel as they did in previous years, the budget was open for a new project.
Saving even more expenses, three students, as well as Rhoden Farm manager Riley Morrow, worked together to construct the greenhouse.
The greenhouse will measure 8 feet by 12 feet, and it will be home to three different forms of hydroponic systems, which are methods of growing plants in nutrient-enriched water rather than soil. To accommodate the small space, single benches will hold the different types of hydroponics.
“It’s all educational,” Carpenter said. “But the greenhouse, along with the rest of the McDaniel property, will serve an educational purpose outside of ACU.”
“Potentially, we are going to help host the Big Country Master Gardeners training in March,” said Dr. Kendra Jernigan, assistant professor of environmental science.
ACU plans to host the Earthkind session on March 20 in which the sustainable practices set up on the McDaniel property will be featured and explored. This includes a rainwater catchment system, rain gardens, the landscaping of the property and the new hydroponic systems.
“[The Big Country Master Gardeners training] brings people from the area onto ACU’s campus,” Carpenter said.