Wells Branch Elementary Organic Garden continues to GROW!February 2012
Fifth grade classes planted fruit trees on February 17. Thanks go out to the volunteers who coordinated and assisted: Tara Fisher-Munoz, George Holcombe, Sarah Slaughter, Steven Wilson and Roger Giller and our wonderful fifth grade teachers.
Tara received this note from Mr. Albert, a teacher whose class participated:
I just wanted to say THANK YOU! We had a blast. It almost brought me to tears watching them get so excited about digging a hole in the ground. Many of our kids do not have opportunities to do things like that. From the bottom of our hearts, the 5th grade team thanks you and the volunteers!
Community support enables endeavors like this thrive. If YOU would like to contribute to the WBE garden, either by volunteering or donation, please contact Tara Fisher-Munoz at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit their page for updates on how you can help: http://wbna.us/community/wb-elementary-garden/
Submitted by Dianne Koehler & Tara Fisher-Munoz – November 2011
This local mom and businesswoman (Vida Green Consulting) has taken her passion for organic food, gardening and healthful living to the local kids and in just a few short weeks was able to cobble together a committee, secure volunteers and supplies and put a garden on the ground. In early November the kids came out and planted seeds which should sprout into healthier lifestyles.
Why at the school? Research has shown what a positive impact school gardens have on young children and their education. We believe that this “hands on” learning will further enhance the students’ education. The program will promote fitness, a love of the outdoors and the environment, and offer experience with nature, which is diminishing with urban/suburban sprawl and lack of transportation for many families. Additionally, goals to instill a sense of stewardship for the environment as well as conserving natural resources is a benefit of the project as well as to teach life-long lessons towards healthy habits and how to make better food choices.
How did you get this all together so quickly? We formed the Green Team as part of the PTA at Wells Branch Elementary in September 2011. In addition to the outdoor living experience/garden, we are also working on a Zero Waste Initiative as well as a No-Idling Initiative. We are an ambitious, motivated group of individuals that believe that this will have a powerful impact on the students and the community.
Who all are involved? Thuy Luong-Higgins and I are Co-Chairs of the Green Team and have been working hard to make the outdoor living experience a reality. Sarah and Nick Slaughter have been instrumental in getting the raised beds built and on the ground. Dianna and Johan Gielstra have also donated much of their time to this project. Jenny Peterson of J. Peterson Garden Design is donating her services to draw the plan for the courtyard and Shelley Palmer is helping plan the native trees/vegetation. There have also been other volunteers from the PTA involved as well as neighbors, such as Dianne Koehler and George Holcombe. We hope to get the whole community involved in this life-changing project.
What kind of donations have been secured? From which sources? What is still needed? We have received small monetary donations from Home Depot, soil from Whittlesey and some donations of tools from neighbors. We have been incredibly busy applying for numerous grants. We were also granted a small sum of money from the PTA to start the green initiatives, but are almost out of seed money. We are still in need of: gardening tools (small rakes, shovels, watering cans, small gloves, a pruner & a pitchfork), a large whiteboard, landscaping materials (large rocks, borders, limestone, etc.), native plants, a bird bath, rain barrels, a composter and cement benches. We would greatly appreciate any donations of materials, time and/or money to help us achieve our goals.
What kind of garden plants are being considered? We have already installed 8 raised beds that the students are using as vegetable gardens. We will also be building a butterfly/caterpillar host garden, native garden, fruit orchard, weather station and possibly a water garden.
What plans are there for the spring semester and summer? Starting in January, there will be daily vegetable gardening with the students as part of their Science curriculum. Once the butterfly and native gardens are installed, they will be included in the curricula. We are optimistic that we will be able to achieve most of our gardening goals by the summer 2012 with the help of the community, students and school.