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Croom High School Cultivates Green Careers

Croom High School Cultivates Green Careers

  • Inside PGCPS |
  • For Parents |
  • February 1, 2019

In the brisk cold of February, the new ‘food forest’ at Croom High School doesn’t look like much — but students explain that despite its appearance, plant roots are growing and are expected to bloom by early summer.

The food forest is one of several student-led environmental projects that are bringing science classrooms to life and inspiring students to pursue practical green careers right here in Prince George’s County.

Croom science teacher Lafiya Tunstall oversees the project, in which students designed, planted and are growing crops including blueberries, witch hazel and serviceberry trees (from which fruit jam is made). In the spring, students plan to add potatoes, peppers and tomatoes.

Tunstall also spearheaded a conservation garden which doubles as an outdoor classroom.


Several local partners have funded projects and are helping students prepare for careers in their community, including: the County’s Department of Environment Arbor Day Every Day program (which funded the food forest), Interstate Commission for the Potomac River Basin (which funded the garden), the Sustainable Energy Workforce Development Program and Hyattsville-based nonprofit Neighborhood Design Center.

The William S. Schmidt Outdoor Education Center has also been a resource — providing students with all initial gardening tools.

“There’s a big push for career and technical education, especially green and alternative energy jobs,” Tunstall said.

Science teacher Jamal Sims added that several of the school's recent graduates are now working in such jobs for the County and in parks and planning as energy auditors, building engineers, air quality analysts and more.

Croom senior and Green Team captain Mya Easterling, who helped cultivate both the conservation garden and food forest, says teachers like Tunstall and Sims inspired her to pursue a career in psychology in college.

“I like the way systems work,” Easterling said. “Whether it’s the body, mind or the environment, I’m interested in how things interact and opportunities to improve people’s lives and the world around us. ”

Croom garden final