The Kirsch Center: De Anza’s own cultivating garden and hangout spot


Life at De Anza College is busy, but a trip to the Kirsch Center garden can help reduce the stress.
Surrounded by California native plants, anyone who stands in the Kirsch Center garden can smell the aroma and ease their mind.
The Kirsch Center, home to De Anza’s Environmental Science Department, contains a student- run garden.
De Anza and San Jose State University are a couple of the few higher education schools that have an Environmental Science Department.
Student volunteers spend their time caring for the Kirsch Center garden. Duties include weeding, watering, keeping track of the supplies used to maintain a garden and keeping the area clean every day.
The garden surrounds the Kirsch Center with native California plants and has a small area set aside for a vegetable garden.  Once the vegetables are harvested, they are made available to students, according to energy management and pollution prevention major Henry Bleisch.
“We’ll do events for students and volunteers that participated, and any remainders go to the Kirsch center kitchen,” Bleisch said.
The Kirsch Center educates students about environmental ethics and awareness, environmental studies and political principles awareness, and the garden itself shows the students and community how organic food is grown.
“We practice organic farming to demonstrate the importance of sustainable food sources, and the garden is filled with California native plants to foster a sustainable landscape that is fit for California’s climate,” said Monique Miller, 20, community studies major.
Native plants are threatened and endangered because of the invasive plants which can cause harm to the biodiversity of California.
Student volunteers demonstrate sustainability and stewardship by devoting their time to garden.
“It’s a personal responsibility to follow through and keep things the way the are, preserving the natural world,” Bleisch said.
The goal to expand education in the Kirsch Center will include a new program about an edible landscape, and accessibility for people with disabilities will soon be added to the Kirsch Center garden to plant more vegetables and fruits.
“We want everyone in the community to get involved,”  said Jamilyn Metz, 22, community studies and sustainable agriculture major.
The garden is adjacent to the Kirsch Center for Environmental Studies on the southeast corner of De Anza’s campus, and is open to all students.