Friday, November 15, 2013

Hooper Elementary School Garden

Come take a tour of our New School Garden! 

            My sister and I have been working this past year to put together a School Garden for our kids Elementary School in Hooper UT. As a Horticulturist and Master Gardener, I found out about other school gardens in different parts of the country that were giving an enormous boost to the education of students. Because this is more rare in certain states (like Utah); I thought it would be a great addition to Utah and Weber County schools. We worked for an entire year with our very supportive faculty and district to gain permission to start our project. We wrote many grants for funding and gained support of local nurseries and wholesale businesses. With the help of generous local donors such as Flints Nursery in West Point, we were able to install our garden this fall and get it prepared for teacher use this spring!

       We hope this blog will update you on our garden, and provide ideas to how to use a school garden for the benefit of Elementary students.

       Here are some of the pictures of our new School Garden:
       We created the garden on the black-top because the district was concerned about water issues if we placed the garden on the lawn area. The only way we could gain permission was to create our raised beds on this space. We are hoping with future success of our Garden we will be able to expand to use in-ground gardens as well as our raised beds.

       We installed 9(8x3)raised vinyl garden boxes, one for each grade.... plus two more- the first for a 3-sisters garden, and the last for special needs. Eight of the beds are 12" deep and the vinyl material will make it very low maintenance and help keep moisture in so we can conserve water.

       This is our special needs bed, raised to 29", this bed will make it easy for special needs to reach and work in the planter box from a wheelchair, or non-bending position. We also placed it in the middle of already existing benches so this space may serve as an outdoor classroom for our students. We have applied for grant money to place an arbor over this area to provide some shade and beauty so it can be a central gathering place. In the left corner of this photo we will also be putting a tool shed with a combination lock when our grant money arrives.

       Here is a picture of our hard working Eagle Scout Peter Griffin and his scout troup that helped us install the garden this fall! Thank You! We couldn't have done it without you! 

       We are the First Elementary School in our district to have a school garden.  Gardening and plant-based learning opens a door to discovery of the living world.  It stimulates even as it focuses and calms. Within the school environment, a garden offers an unparalleled platform to help kids achieve learning goals in ways that are recommended by National Science Standards.   Hooper Elementary School has amazing potential to enhance student learning in an outdoor classroom setting.   It will be a great resource in helping us teach health, nutrition, math, science, and language arts! 

       We look forward to working with our amazing teachers this spring that have already shown interest in using our garden with their classes!   

Happy Gardening!