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Aiken Garden Thriving

Jennifer Watenpool,   Dormont El Sch
Access to Healthy Foods, Community Involvement, Physical Activity Participation, Student Leadership, Success with Funds,  Teamwork
Aiken Garden Thriving

Late in May, students had a chance to rotate through stations in the school to participate in activities and come down to the garden to help plant vegetables and fruit trees. We were fortunate enough to receive donations of plants from Bonnie's Plants and Best Feeds in Gibsonia. We also received fruit trees from The Fruit Tree Company in Pittsburgh. Lastly, we received a rain barrel donation from Greentree Borough. A letter was sent home asking for family volunteers to help out with the garden all summer. Students and their parents volunteered for a week at a time in the summer to tend to and care for the school garden. When we came back to school in August, the students begged to pull weeds and pick vegetables to take home or give to the cafeteria during recess. It is really awesome to see how excited they are with their hard work and the success with our garden.

How did students and adults work together as a team?

Students gave up recess time and other free time to work with us to get the fruit trees in the ground. they worked so hard. I was so proud of the time/sweat/hard work they put in to get the garden done by the end of the day. They were truly proud of their accomplishments.

How did you accomplish your goals?

Just like every year, I am hoping to at least get one more child more active. So many students come to school tired, stressed out from a new Math series, or anxious over testing. Each year we discuss as a team what we liked, what we did not like, and how we can fix it and make it better and more fun for the students. It is exciting to me to see the happiness in the students faces when they get to work in the garden.

How do you plan to make this Play last during the school year and beyond?

We are hoping after this year to continue our partnership with local nurseries to obtain plants and seeds for the following growing season. We are also hoping that with a new dietitian in our school, we can work with her to bring some great healthy recipes to the students. Last year was our first year with the garden. We as a fifth grade team talked about what we liked, what we didn't like, and what we would like to change.