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Federal grant supports school garden, master gardener program

  • Subject: [cg] Federal grant supports school garden, master gardener program
  • From: Don Boekelheide <dboekelheide@yahoo.com>
  • Date: Sat, 11 Dec 2004 19:29:49 -0800 (PST)

Union-Democrat, Tuolumne County, Californig
Dec 10, 2004

School garden-nature program takes root

By ABBY SOUZA

Tuolumne County Master Gardeners have stepped out of
their own gardens this season to help a group of
Jamestown Elementary School kids learn about nature.

Gardeners Becky Miller-Cripps and Sharon Dunbar have
been visiting the Jamestown After School Program each
Wednesday, providing lessons and activities on
horticulture.

This week, the gardeners-turned-teachers brought in
several types of indigenous plant clippings, explained
to the children what the plants were and had them glue
samples onto cardboard for a natural holiday
centerpiece.

"It was so cute, one of them asked me if I had a
coconut to glue on his centerpiece," Miller-Cripps
said.

Miller-Cripps said she has enjoyed working with the
after-school program students over the past couple of
months. Miller-Cripps and Dunbar recently helped the
kids plant a winter garden of broccoli, cauliflower
and Swiss chard in the on-campus, raised-bed garden.
They also had the children sprout beans in clear cups
so they could watch the beans grow into plants.

"I think they've learned a lot," said Nancy Bailey,
the after-school program co-coordinator. "Even the
(Master Gardener) ladies have commented how much they
enjoy it."

Bailey's co-coordinator, Chris Miller, contacted the
Master Gardeners about working with the children in
the program. She said she learned about the Master
Gardeners program through her leadership position in a
Tuolumne County 4-H club.

"They are an incredible group to have around," she
said.

The after-school program has also had other area
groups come in to speak to their 80 students, Bailey
said. Mountain Women's Resource Center, for example,
spoke about bullying and teen violence.

Jamestown Elementary and the county recreation
department work together to provide the free,
five-day-a-week program from 2:40 to 5:40 p.m. to its
students.

The program is funded with a federal grant from 21st
Century Community Learning Centers and administered by
the state to establish or expand after school
activities and academic assistance for students who go
to low-achieving or high-poverty schools.

The children spend one mandatory hour a day doing
academic work, Bailey said, then get to do enrichment
and recreation activities, like the projects they do
with the Master Gardeners.

"It's been so much fun," Miller-Cripps said. "The kids
really seem to get into it."


______________________________________________________
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