EvCC Employees Turn Recycled Bottles into Children’s Greenhouse

Press Release

Release Date: May 23, 2014

Contact: Eugene M. McAvoy, EvCC Dean of Communications and Social Sciences, 425-388-9031; emcavoy@everttcc.edu  

EvCC Employees Turn Recycled Bottles into Children’s Greenhouse

Photo: The Everett Community College Leadership Academy team who constructed a greenhouse out of recycled plastic bottles included Eugene McAvoy (left), Shelby Sherrill, Shirl Magana, Adja Fame and Ben Thompson (back).

EVERETT, Wash. – A group of Everett Community College employees turned 1,500 donated plastic bottles into a greenhouse for kids at EvCC’s Early Learning Center.

The 2-liter bottles, donated by Safeway Bottling, are the new greenhouse’s walls. The greenhouse will be used for the children to grow vegetables, fruit and herbs.

“This is a great way to show children ways in which something we typically think of as trash might be used to improve the environment and promote sustainability,” said Holly McFaul, director of the Early Learning Center, which provides care for children ages 1 to 5 years old. 

A team from EvCC’s Leadership Academy planned and helped construct the greenhouse as their group project. The team included International Education program specialist Adja Fame, IT specialist Shirl Magana, fiscal analyst Shelby Sherrill, EvCC security officer Ben Thompson and Communication and Social Sciences Eugene McAvoy.

The Leadership Academy is an EvCC program that provides instruction and experience in the principles of collaborative leadership. Each year, employee teams develop projects to help the college achieve its goals. This year’s theme was sustainability. Since 2007, over 100 employees have completed the program.

Support for the greenhouse was provided by Candy Castellanos at Waste Management Inc., who helped the team identify a source for plastic bottles. Brian Ballard and Jodee Shelbourn with Safeway Bottling coordinated the company’s donation of 2-liter plastic bottles for the walls of the greenhouse. Mike and Susy Schueller, Carlos Garcia and Brandon Burke provided, tools, equipment, supplies and labor to support construction of the greenhouse. 

On campus, the project received substantial support from Administrative Services and Resource Conservation Manager Molly Beeman and the EvCC Sustainability Initiative. The college’s Facilities department worked closely with the Leadership Academy team to plan, procure supplies and construct the greenhouse. Bobby Mangrum in Facilities did all of the framing for the project.

Students at the ELC also got involved in the project, with students watching construction and celebrating the opening of the greenhouse.

“They could not stop asking questions,” Sherrill said. “They also pointed out that a greenhouse should be green. That is why we made the door from green plastic bottles.”