By Mackenzie Davis
For many students walking around Grand Rapids Community College’s campus, the exteriors of a glass classroom can be seen from down below or students may walk past windows exhibiting numerous plants on the fifth floor of the science building. This classroom has sparked interest for many students including Ethan Wilson who decided to investigate.
“…I assumed it was a greenhouse and actually visited it to see what it was about,” wrote Wilson, 22 of Grand Rapids, in a text to The Collegiate. “I think it’s a necessity that people spend time in nature. It affects our physical health if we don’t interact with it.”
Wilson is not the only person who believes nature is important for our everyday lives.
Todd Tiano, biology department head at GRCC and coordinator of the school’s greenhouse, believes this idea of biophilia is more present than we realize.
“We’re largely removed from nature…we’ve built this world of technology and being indoors,” Tiano said. “We bring plants in the house…we inherently don’t want to be removed from nature.”
GRCC’s greenhouse serves as an example for this idea. Stocking the biology department with plants for cellular experimentations and a place for the botany class (BI 153) to work and take care of plants.
Tiano also hopes to bring back the community science day in which families and students can come and learn about plants with Professor Matt Douglas. Other opportunities include biodiversity and garden clubs that have held their meetings in the greenhouse which runs throughout the year.
The botany class and clubs are the best way to be involved in the greenhouse but students are always welcome to observe the many plants through its windows when walking by. This advantage of being out in nature does not just have to come from being a part of the school’s greenhouse. Tiano talks about the benefits of gardening in your own backyard.
“There’s also that process and the gratification of really seeing something through, planting the seed and being able to help foster that to the point where you have this benefit from one another,” Tiano said. “The plant is kind of depending on you in that setting and you can start to depend upon the plant whether it’s just good vibes, some beauty…there’s a lot of benefit in that regard.”