The courtyard at Westfield is set to undergo some big changes, and teachers and students agree that it may just be for the better. The courtyard, a place where seniors can eat their lunch, is a field of grass with a few benches, and has stayed that way since the schools’ opening.

      Alexandra Johnson, Environmental Science teacher, and Cortlyn Bristol, Biology teacher, took notice and decided that the courtyard needed some sprucing up. The idea was presented to Get2Green, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS)’ sustainability office. The office approved it and a grant was distributed to Westfield to start the project in late May. The plot for the updated courtyard will include composting bins and gardens growing edible crops, flowers, and other food sources for pollinating insects. 

     “The courtyard will be used as an outdoor learning space for environmental science,” said Johnson. She also noted the environmental and moral benefit of adding more plants to the courtyard: “We hope that in the future we will be able to provide fresh produce to students in need.” 

      Additionally, Johnson and others foresee the environmental bolstering provided by the extra plant life in the courtyard, which is important in understanding why the courtyard is going through so many changes.

      The courtyard changes could also spark some new clubs and after-school activities, such as a gardening club, which will consist of studying and tending to the crop garden. Johnson hopes that this will be how the courtyard functions some time after the changes have been implemented. In addition, Johnson wishes that other schools take advantage of updating their courtyards, as gardens provide an engaging tool that students can experience firsthand, as well as teach students the reward of hard work with fresh crops.

      “So far our students have been excited about the opportunity to go outside,” Mrs. Johnson opined. “I think that teachers who have windows into the courtyard will enjoy the nice view, and appreciate seeing flowers and other plants out there.”

      The project began in June and is ongoing, with no set deadline.