Garden Spotlight: Project Inspiration

As you plan your school or community garden for 2015, don’t forget to think outside of the box. Here are some creative, fun, and innovative projects from gardens around VT.

Lothrop Elementary School’s Pollinator Program

At Lothrop Elemnetary is Pittsford , 2014 was the “Year of the Bee.” Jan, the enrichment/technology teacher, was concerned about the plight of the honeybees and felt the students should be educated
on the harvesting grape leaves for our pickle recipe (Medium)manner.  The year started off with a field trip to Champlain Valley Apiaries to inspire students. The students researched pollinator species worldwide, colony collapse disorder, pesticide pressures, and local plant species favored by honeybees, graphics for our honey recipes, draw the life cycle of honeybees, voice over sock puppet skits and view honeybees with an electron microscope. Lothrop held a Honeybee High Tea with students and their families with honey inspired recipes made by the students. The art teacher jumped on board to create art pictures of pollinators’ favorite plant species, bee centerpieces for the High Tea, and bee shirts with bee slogans like “Save the bees,” “Bees love dandelions,” and “Don’t use pesticides” for BEE Day.

Putney Community Garden’s Workshops

At the Putney Community Garden, Garden Coordinators work to educate and motivate plot owners through workshops. Several coordinators led an insect identification workshop.  Those in attendance learned to planting bedsidentify popular bugs that live in the garden and whether or not they are harmful.  Potato beetles were a popular find and the group of 12 worked together to eradicate them as best they could.  Keeping members involved and excited about the garden is important for the garden’s success and the workshops have been a great  way to do that.

Tinmouth Elementary School’s Snack Bar & Mini-Gardens

Tinmouth Elementary school gets the little ones involved with care-free, hands on, rule-less features of their hillside garden. The front of the garden houses several “snack bars,” raised beds planted with Tinmouth- Running in Gardenstudents’ favorite veggie snacks, including butter-crunch lettuce, carrots, and broccoli.  Students are encouraged to munch on however much of whichever plant they please, promoting nutrition education.
“Mini-gardens” are 2×3 foot plots where students can plant, grow, and experiment to their hearts content without any adults or other students stepping in to take over.  These features are at the heart of the philosophy of the Tinmouth Elementary School Garden—where students develop an appreciation for fresh food through exploration and ownership.

Lacking resources or funds to make your project dreams a reality? Check out our  grant listings page!

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