Relandscaping beneficial to education and environment March 14, 2011 — by Giulia Curcelli and Jennifer Jin The first impression, the most repeated descriptor, the one phrase most often used by students to characterize our school's appearance might just be: "It looks like a jail." The first impression, the most repeated descriptor, the one phrase most often used by students to characterize our school’s appearance might just be: “It looks like a jail.” With the district now hurting from budget problems, remedying this may not seem like a top priority. Yet simple changes such as landscaping and repainting the school’s exterior can do much more than just fix how students see the school. Painting and landscaping the school not only makes it more visually pleasing but also creates a healthier, less stressful atmosphere. The USDA Forest Service has reported that workers and students with a view of natural elements feel more relaxed. Additionally, the presence of plants has been known to increase positive feelings and reduce fear and anger. According to the organization Partners for Livable Places, “plants are the fastest, most cost-effective agents for changing negative perceptions of an area, enhancing the economic and social conditions and improving the psychosocial health.” In addition, not only do plants help students feel more relaxed, but they also improve the environment. When plants take in carbon dioxide, they reduce greenhouse gases and therefore make the air cleaner. According to NASA and Associated Landscape Contractors of America, many plants such as gerbera daisies and chrysanthemums are effective at removing benzene, a human carcinogen that can cause leukemia. Painting the school is not only an aesthetic improvement, but it also protects the buildings from the elements and would reduce future repair costs. Personally, we prefer the combination of tan walls, grey doors and deep red accents. The more updated look make the school feel modern, and the earthy tones make the campus seem warmer and more welcoming. Keeping the district’s deficit problems in mind, the school is first trying out colors on the art building using extra paint they already own, a relatively inexpensive process. Only when the economic situation has improved will the school begin to set aside money for painting the school. We hope these changes come sooner rather than later since a fresh coat of paint and a few new flowers can only be an improvement.