Students from Konawaena High School supplied much of the volunteer labor. They dug out rocks, hauled dirt and spread cinder, and put many of the plants into the ground. During each session we would talk about the garden they were helping to build. The comments below show how much they gained from the experience:
"I didn't realize how small Earth is compared to the galaxy..."
"Wow, that Earth is small. I thought it would be bigger."
"That's a big a garden, Miss..."
"After working for the galaxy gardens, I started thinking that there HAS to be other life in the galaxy because of all the other stars out there. I mean, there's only one planet we know of that has life, but there are billions of other stars out there... there has to be other life out there. How can there not be life out there with all those other stars?"
"But aren't there other colors of stars in the galaxy besides yellow? Where are the red and blue and orange stars?"
"Miss, that was a lot of hard work doing that garden! I was sweating! But I had a lot of fun! When are we going again?"
"I liked how this garden helped me to understand our constellations better. I never knew why the Milky Way looked different throughout the year, now I understand why. I feel like it is hard for me to explain it in words, but in my head I feel like I understand it. I can picture us on the Earth looking towards the center of the galaxy in the summer and in the winter I picture us looking away from the center of the Milky Way. I hope that makes sense! This garden might have raised more questions than answered some... maybe that is good! I like thinking about these kinds of things."
"This is a really cool project. I hope we get to work on it more. I love to learn this way. We should create a website so people can learn about this..."
"I didn't know there was a black hole at the center of the Milky Way. I didn't even realize that the Milky Way was our own galaxy. I thought it was just a candy bar and a cloud of stars in our sky. This garden helped me to understand our position in the galaxy, I think that was the point of the garden. I always thought the Earth was in the center of the galaxy, but we are actually farther out than that. I really liked getting out of school to work on the garden too. Sometimes you can learn by doing and building something like the galaxy garden instead of sitting and listening to teachers. It is really pretty in the garden too. I think once it grows it will look really nice. I'm glad I was able to work on it."
"It was cool."
- Kekoa (A man of many words :) )
"So, Miss, if I took one step in the garden, it is 1000 light years? Whoa, that's cool! We should invent a machine that can travel like that."
"I had a lot of fun working at the garden. I can't believe how big the Milky Way is compared to the Sun and the Earth! Working for the gardens made me think about how much time it took for the universe to be created. We learned it took 15 billion years, but is that true? This garden made me think of whoever came up with this galaxy and universe was a pretty neat person, or thing, or whatever..."
"What did I learn at the galaxy gardens? What DIDN'T I learn is more like it! I was surprised to learn that what we see in the sky at night is only in a small part of the galaxy surrounding the solar system. I thought that scientists knew so much about all the stars and galaxies around the solar system and sun, but I found out working for the garden that there is a lot we don't know. I started thinking about where other galaxies would be compared to our Milky Way... how far away would they be? How far away would the closest galaxy be? How far away would the farthest galaxy be? Are there more people out there? Where are they? What are they? Are there really that many stars? Is there stuff out there we can't see? Can you hear sound in space? When it was quiet in the garden it made me think a lot about sound... Like supernovas... when they blow up, can you hear them?"