Is that spring I hear? After a long and wayward winter, our school gardens are ready for sunshine and warm weather. The students at Healey have already started seedlings and have joined their teachers in garden-based lessons related to rocks, soil, plants, and plant adaptations! Winter Hill Community School awaits its new Seedling Farm that will provide seedlings for Winter Hill as well several other school gardens. And, as the snow has receded and spring rains have come, bulbs that students planted last fall at East Somerville Community School on Food Day are coming up -- we're in for flourishing floral around Somerville this spring!
Tuesday morning, Mayor Curtatone joined YouthBuild to help do work fixing up the garden beds, planting peas, and doing clean-up at West Somerville Neighborhood School as part of the Mayor's Day of Recognition for National Service! Meanwhile, Groundwork Somerville is looking forward to a clean-up at Prospect Hill Academy Early Childhood Campus and has been meeting with parents and administrators to put plans into motion for their school garden.
In the coming months, many of our schools are hoping to get rain barrels to catch water for their respective gardens and are looking forward to planting seedlings, continuing to learn about food and nature in the gardens, and beginning the harvest! The season has started off strong, and things are looking up!
The brand new East Somerville school building now has a spacious new garden to boot! Last week, we got nine classes – about 160 students total – out into the garden. Some students were discovering the garden for the first time. Upon arriving to the garden each class was introduced to the garden and reminded that the garden belongs to them, and that with their help it will grow into a beautiful, productive place to learn, play and sustain them. Students weeded, watered, planted, and added compost to the new beds. October is the perfect time for planting cover crops and garlic, so we planted 4 beds of winter rye and 3 beds (plus one small corner) of garlic.
On the borders of the beds, come spring, the garden will be full of color, due to the tulip and narcissus bulbs that the students planted. Less pretty, but certainly very essential to the sustainability of our garden, is the compost bin that the students installed. The younger students, especially, enjoyed observing our productive worms, which turn the food and garden scraps into dark, rich soil that will boost the fertility of the garden. In addition to being able to get outside and move their bodies, students learned some basic garden science concepts, such as the life cycle of bulbs, the process of composting, how to broadcast seeds, and why we use cover crops.
Last week’s planting day was just the beginning with the East Somerville Garden, which will be used as one of several sites for our on-going after-school Healthy Education program this fall and spring – and for many future growing seasons!
The spring brought unpredictable weather, but also tasty growing veggies (especially lettuce), to our school gardens! Our 9 clubs at 8 different schools focused on "Healthy Eating" and gardening. Students learned about many different kinds of plants and parts of plants used in food, how different fruits, vegetables, and grains help our bodies grow strong, and how to make delicious, healthy snacks. Favorite lessons included "Leafy Greens" and "Honey & Maple Syrup". They also worked the soil, planted seeds and seedlings, and weeded and watered their growing gardens; 90% of club members said they liked gardening this spring, and 95% loved making snacks. Also this May, 5 students from our Healey School garden program and a Groundwork staff member were invited to help the First Lady harvest from the White House Kitchen Garden--an amazing opportunity!
Now that summer is here, a team of community volunteers--our Watering Heroes--help maintain our school gardens and South Street Farm, along with our Green Team of high school youth. In addition, we just kicked off our Garden Youth Crew program for middle school students; they'll learn gardening, teamwork, and job skills while completing projects at the Healey School and East Somerville School.
After a long, snowy winter--and a productive maple syrup season!--we're more than ready for spring! In January and February, our after-school club "Eco-Heroes" learned all about animals, their relationships in nature, and what they do in winter. They enjoyed making birdhouses from recycled coffee cans, preparing and eating "worm slaw", and playing Endangered Animal Tag. In the second-grade classrooms, Maple Syrup Educators led an interdisciplinary curriculum teaching how maple syrup is made, where sap comes from, and how trees change through the seasons.
Now that the spring has melted and the days are getting longer and warmer, our school gardens and South Street Farm getting ready for the growing season. We just kicked off a new "Healthy Eating" curriculum, exploring where food comes from, how we can eat in healthy, sustainable ways, and how different parts of plants are important. Students have a unique chance to interact with food from soil to table: they can plant a seed, water it and keep it healthy as it grows, harvest, and cook a healthy snack from it! Spring also brings garden renovations at three of our school gardens, as well as a new mural at the South Street Farm; it's a busy, exciting time.
Fall is drawing to a close, but our schoolyard gardens are still a source of hands-on education and exploration! This fall's "Living Lab" curriculum teaches scientific concepts and engages students enrolled in the after-school garden clubs in basic experiments, using our gardens as an outdoor lab and classroom. So far we've learned about seed germination, capillary action, the water cycle, root storage, and more! In October and early November we harvested our last remaining vegetables from the gardens, incorporating them into healthy eating recipes with our after-school clubs.
Now we're in the process of bedding down the school gardens--located at eight schools throughout Somerville--for the winter. With the assistance of volunteers, parents, and Green Team members, we've sown winter rye, planted tulip and daffodil bulbs, and added cocoa hulls, straw, and cardboard for nutrient-rich mulch. We're also planning ahead for the spring, excited for garden renovations and a new planting season.
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.
Get Reports via Email
We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.