Students at Temple University’s Ambler campus are burning the midnight oil to complete an eco-friendly entry for this year’s Philadelphia Flower Show at the Pennsylvania Convention Center from March 2-9.
The display highlights ecologically sustainable methods of water recycling through a process that reuses water from showers, laundry and dishwashing machines.
This recycled water is called graywater, and the exhibit, which is called Graywater Gardens, will show how this water can be used for watering plants and gardens.
“We’ve taken the basics of an old idea and centered our display around it,” said Assistant Professor Skip Graffam.
“Our goal is not only to create an attractive display, but to also maintain the ecological theme of water conservation.”
The Ambler students chose to work a water conservation project because of the drought in Philadelphia last summer.
The landscaping and horticulture departments decided to participate in the flower show this year even though they had a winning display last year.
The department usually only participates in the show every other year in order to give students enough time to complete their project.
The students are working overtime in order to complete the project by the due date of Feb. 24.
Ambler has won awards at seven of the Philadelphia Flower Shows over the past 20 years.
There are several types of graywater recycling systems.
Direct discharge systems allow runoff to go directly into the ground, and filter and pump systems, which remove the impurities, such as hair and soap scum, from the water before it is released into the ground.
The students’ entry will re-create an indoor and outdoor environment, with a working shower, washing machine and sink, as well as soil and plants.
The entry will feature the most basic system, in which water from the shower and kitchen appliances will run directly into the garden.
Landscaping students are working on the display’s structural design and construction and the horticulture students are responsible for the shrubbery, flowers and plants that will adorn the exhibit.
In keeping with the ecologically friendly theme, the selected plants will not require very much water.
“This is an excellent opportunity for the students because not only are they learning a lot about landscape and horticulture, but they also learn project management, design and get hands on experience,” said Graffam.
“It allows them to put the skills that they’ve learned to the test and at the same time it gives them a taste of what they will be dealing with when they get into the working world.”
“Everything is moving fairly well, right now we’re focusing on the framework of the roof and hanging the lights,” said junior Andrew Bosworth.
“Although we have to work on the project outside of class a lot of the time, it is definitely a good experience. It’s beneficial because we have to deal with the hands-on aspects such as designing, building and teamwork.”
Jennifer West can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.