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Oregon elementary students plan a garden

  • Subject: [cg] Oregon elementary students plan a garden
  • From: Don Boekelheide dboekelheide@yahoo.com
  • Date: Sun, 26 Feb 2006 17:45:44 -0800 (PST)

Worldlink - Southcoast of Oregon, USA
Saturday, February 25, 2006

Madison students planning a garden

By Elise Hamner, City Editor

There's something about kids and dirt.

Sure, they like to play in it, but gradeschoolers in
Empire want to do more than play. They want to create
a school garden.

There would be raised beds for growing vegetables and
fruits, and they would share extra space with the
community. And while the dream is a ways from reality,
Madison Elementary School's children already are
digging into the science of it.

Oh gosh, they love it. We've been digging up pots of
soil to figure out what kinds of ants and worms
actually live in the dirt, said third-grade teacher
Ann Marineau.

Students also are planting radish seeds to find out
about the different soil and water conditions the
plants prefer.

We can do hands-on science curriculum, she said.

They hope to start garden construction next month in
the grassy area between the street and parking lot.
The school is amassing donated supplies and helpers.
(See sidebar for items needed.) Already, students have
lined the walls in the halls with donated cement
blocks that will be used to build a retaining wall.

The school's busy teachers and studious youngsters
aren't doing all the work themselves. There's a gopher
of sorts at work here, too - AmeriCorps volunteer
Stephanie Danyi. She is coordinating the effort since 
AmeriCorps requires her to complete a community action
project.

While Danyi is based at the South Slough National
Estuarine Research Reserve, she's assisting teachers,
writing letters to parents and others, gathering
recycled potting containers and finding gardening
curriculum that addresses all the core skills - math,
reading, writing, even nutrition. And, she wants more
help.

We're going to be needing volunteers to construct the
garden beds, Danyi said.

They are planning to build raised or boxed beds to
make the garden more accessible to people with
disabilities and to help keep nutrients from leaching
as quickly through the very porous soil.

Danyi wants to involve the Coos County-Oregon State
University Extension Service's Master Gardeners, and
Marineau wants to start a 4-H garden club during the
afterschool program. Students also will design the
garden logo through a contest.

At this point, we're trying to gather resources so we
can have our groundbreaking next month, Danyi said.

Once the students stake out their territory, the
remaining garden space will be opened to people in the
community. Come summer, Danyi and the school are
hoping community gophers will help weed and water the
garden in exchange, perhaps, for homegrown snacks.


______________________________________________________
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