The Student News Site of Central Oregon Community College

The Broadside

The Student News Site of Central Oregon Community College

The Broadside

The Student News Site of Central Oregon Community College

The Broadside

Noelle Copley leads efforts to restore COCC’s collaborative garden

Noelle Copley
Grounds by the library

Have you ever wondered what that garden is next to COCC’s Barber Library? With help from other professors, students, and the campus groundskeepers, Central Oregon Community College’s (COCC) sustainability coordinator, Noelle Copley is the one behind the scenes.

The COCC Collaborative Garden has been part of COCC since early 2006. It is set north of the Barber Library, just off of NW College Way. In the past, it has been used for classes and as a space for local students to socialize.
“It was built by the students for the students and so that’s what it should be first and foremost,” said Noelle Copley.

Recently, with the lack of interest from students and the ending of the garden club, the Collaborative Garden has been left without hope, that was until Copley decided to get involved.

“I’ve just been kind of trying to keep things growing in here while there’s no real student interest,” Copley said.

Copley is an advocate for the environment and is extremely passionate about making all COCC campuses more green and sustainable. So when she decided to get involved with this garden she knew she wanted to plant flowers and plants that would benefit the environment, pollinating plants.

“One in every three bites of food you take is because of a pollinator, so if that doesn’t tell you the importance that we need pollinators I don’t know what does,” said Copley.

Pollinators are frequently overlooked even while Copley and others have planted many plants and flowers over the last spring and summer. Starting with the COCC Family STEM night where families helped plant trees around the inside barrier of the garden.

But with the lack of interaction from the students, it’s been a rollercoaster of support. Students used to be the ones leading the clubs, organizing the weeding and seeding parties as well as taking care of the garden itself. With the Bend campus having multiple small pollinator gardens, two other community gardens, and a greenhouse, the groundskeepers are occupied with a myriad of other tasks. This leaves it up to the volunteers to help this garden reach its full potential.

Copley frequently gets together with Sarah Fuller, Associate Professor of Biology and Chair of Science, and Merideth Humphries, Associate Professor of Biology. Together, they take care of the garden. She has also received help from Frank Payne, the COCC Bend campus bookstore manager.

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About the Contributor
Colette Lorge, Staff reporter
Colette Lorge is a staff writer for The Broadside. She started contributing to the online publication in the spring of 2023.

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