Organic Learning Garden

Ryan Duncans

“I’d been spending a lot of time up in the mountains and experiencing nature close-up. And then I heard that SMC had an organic garden and….”

He’s without a doubt a ‘force of nature,’ is Ryan Duncans. And it’s his own nature to let nature shape him as it will. “I was in Marine Biology, but it just didn’t feel like a good fit. I mean, I’d be somewhat isolated just doing all that lab work. I wanted to do something that somehow combined both the sociological and biological sciences,” Ryan says. “And when I learned about SMC’s Organic Learning Garden, I knew that I’d put my finger on something incredibly vital. I could be around people who are as passionate as I am about the environment, and also teach them how and what to grow. So now I’m totally focused on Environmental Science, and I’ll be continuing in this when I transfer to UC Santa Cruz.”

When last seen, Ryan was in his beloved garden—which he now manages—showing another student how to place a tiny seed in some earth to give it maximum potential for growth. “When you study with someone like Alex Tower in Life Science, you truly learn about miraculous things in life. She’s an amazing person who actually became my close friend and mentor. Because of her,” Ryan continues, “I became very inspired about making gardening and teaching others about it my crystal-clear path for the future.”

When you talk with Ryan, certain words keep popping up. Like ‘seeds,’ ‘healing,’ ‘regeneration,’ and ‘growth.’ “I feel that, at some point, I’d like to be involved in making public policy decisions. But the work I plan to do doesn’t need to be done on a huge scale,” he says. “It can be just as simple as planting a tiny seed, and knowing how to tend it as it grows.”

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.