Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Five-Part Plan to Bring to Life a More Sustainable School Garden

SARE Youth Educator Grant

YENC10-037 Kansas City, MO – Sarah Holmes

Objective: The goals are to expose first-grade students to hands-on environmental education through a school garden, to enhance the curriculum by connecting it to the natural world, to provide students with the opportunity to grow and eat fresh produce, to diversify campus ecology, and to make school grounds look more attractive and inviting.

Results: This project revolves around five concepts: composting, beneficial insects, extending the season, cover crops, and irrigation/water. Significant progress has been made on several of the concepts.
Teaching first graders about
worms and gardening.

Composting was implemented after we researched several different types of worm bins, choosing one from Gardeners Supply.  We’ve been feeding our worms for several months now; they consume apple cores and banana peels from a collection bin.  Several times a week students mist the bin and check for worm activity. At first, many students thought the worms were gross, but now that they understand their usefulness, that attitude has changed.

Our outdoor compost bin is a wooden frame bin that assembles in a Lincoln Log fashion. It was very easy for the students to put the bin together. We emptied our first load of compost this spring and started filling it for next year. Students participated in watering the compost, aerating it, and turning it. s for beneficial insects, students are investigating native plants that have the qualities of attracting beneficial insects. We have prepared a bed along the side of our garden and amended the soil.  We will plant the natives that the students chose and count the insects on the plants.
(Photo by Sarah Holmes)

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