McDaniel’s Secret Garden: A Hidden Gem

Students at McDaniel might think they know every single location on campus, but when you ask students about the location of McDaniel’s garden, most of the responses are along the lines of “do we have a garden on campus?” Let me tell you, yes, we most certainly do have a garden at McDaniel!

Located behind the grounds building at the edge of the golf course, right next to the North Village parking lot and the soccer field, the garden was started in 2012 by Dr. Mona Becker, the current chair of McDaniel’s Environmental Studies Department. Jesica West took over in 2012 as the student leader of the garden. She and two other students, Joseph Wright and Elyssa Bidwell, were in charge of the garden during the first few years of its existence.

Emma West

Emma West

When Emma West, Jesica West’s younger sister, arrived at McDaniel as a first year student in 2012, she also got involved in the garden. When Jesica, Joseph, and Elyssa graduated last year, Emma was put in charge of the garden.

Emma is a junior majoring in Environmental Studies, with a concentration in Biology, and a minor in English. Other students who are very involved with the garden are Hoang Phi Edullantes, Ethan Homesley and Bridget Harrison. They too are all Environmental Studies majors.

For the most part, the garden was an entity of its own, but this year Emma decided to join forces with Green Life, McDaniel’s environmental club. The garden is now one of three Green Life club committees where Emma fills the executive director position and therefore continues as head of the garden project.

On merging with Green Life Emma states, “We’re really excited about working with Green Life on this project, getting more people involved and we already have several new projects in the works.” .

At the moment, Emma and the rest of her crew are growing collard greens, cabbage, broccoli, spinach, kale, and lettuce in the garden. They also still have quite a few tomatoes left from last season. The rest of the garden is in cover crop for the winter at the moment. During this past spring and summer they had a full array of summer vegetables, which Bridget and Ethan managed while everyone else was away for the summer. They plan to repeat the process this coming spring.

“Teaching people about growing food sustainably is a huge part of the reason we have the garden in the first place” says Emma. “We really want to educate people on growing their own food who haven’t had the opportunity to do it themselves before.”

Garden TomatoesEmma and the rest of the garden crew are always excited for new volunteers. No previous gardening experience is needed to volunteer in the garden. There is no real time commitment for the garden, but the more time volunteers can provide to the garden the better this garden will be.

Anyone who is interested can contact Emma West at