Community Outreach Program

We're Innovating to Improve Our Community

The Hart Center offers students the opportunity to take part in leadership development and team-building activities through service-learning at St. Philips School and Community Center in Dallas. Lyle students volunteer for the Solar Farm project to support “Gwen’s Garden,” which provides fresh, organic vegetables to Aunt Bette's Community Pantry at St. Philips. Our students use innovative technology to change community farming for the better. All systems in the garden are powered through solar energy to avoid producing air pollution, water pollution and greenhouse gases. The garden is watered by a combination of aquaponics and drip irrigation to mimic the natural ecosystem and eliminate waste and toxic chemicals.

To learn more about how to volunteer, please email

For more information on the Hart Center’s Solar Farm Project at St. Philip’s, read below about how these innovative systems positively impact the environment

Solar Panels

Solar panels are conductors of energy – they take in sunlight, and turn it into electricity. Encased in each solar panels are solar cells, which capture sunlight particles that travel through the sun’s rays. After the solar cells have provided enough electricity for the day, the electrons move back into place. This means that the materials in solar panels are never used up or worn out, and can be reused over and over again for decades.

A few solar cells can power something small, such as an electric toothbrush or a cell phone. Around 500 solar cells are needed to power an entire house. If less than 1% of the world was covered in solar panels, everyone would have all the electric power they would ever need.


Aquaponics is the method of combining aquaculture and hydroponic systems in order to mimic a natural ecosystem. In this ecosystem, water, bacteria, aquatic life, and plants all work together to create a perfect fertilizer for the plants being grown. We are able to exchange the waste byproduct from the fish as a food for the bacteria and convert it into a perfect fertilizer for the plants, which will return the water in a clean and safe form back to the fish.

Drip Irrigation

Drip irrigation is a method of watering plants that delivers water directly to each plant instead of watering the whole garden area at once. This is an ideal watering solution that will not only help your plants stay well-hydrated, but will also help the planet by saving water! This system consists of a pump, that is attached to a water supply, connected to pipes that weave through the garden. In the bottom of these pipes, there are holes that direct water to the root of each plant.