4-H Project Green Teacher
Save the Dates for These School Garden Events
Register now for the Summer 4-H Project Green Teacher Series Set for June 11-13, 2019
School Garden Bus Tour Takes Off June 14th, 2019
Starting Seeds Indoors with Your Students
Safety Tips for School Gardens from the USDA
If you have questions related to safety and your school garden, including the use of fertilizer, check out this fact sheet from the USDA.
You can also contact your local Extension office. To do a web search in Ohio, type in the name of the county where you reside, dot, then osu.edu. (example: franklin.osu.edu)
Teacher Feature: Katie Young, Columbus City Schools
Name: Katie Young
School: Columbus City Schools
Educational Position: 3rd Grade Teacher
How long have you been engaged in school gardening? Eight years
How did you get started? It all started with a question from my first graders eight years ago - "Why do the butterflies never stay around the school yard?" (They were speaking of the butterflies that we raised from caterpillars. Once we released them - we never saw them again because we didn't have the right type of plants to feed them.)
What was the most memorable moment you had teaching your students in the garden? I have so many memorable moments that it is hard to choose but I think my favorite memory is when two of my most challenging 5th grade students, who could barely stand to be in the same room together, signed up to BOTH be on the "drill team" when we were adding the hoops to our gardens. They were responsible for working as a TEAM to use the power drill to drill holes and then screw in the brackets for all of the hoops on our low tunnels. They not only communicated well throughout the whole process, but they volunteered to continue to work during their recess time the rest of the week to finish the job. During their time on the "drill team" they discovered that they had many things in common and actually became friends who could work together in the classroom as well as the garden.
Why is school gardening an important educational tool for teachers? School gardening is an important educational tool because it allows kids the chance to problem solve and collaborate with others in a different environment where they often feel more comfortable to let their guard down. It is also a great opportunity for kids to be the teachers. I have seen many kids who are shy in the classroom step up in the garden and take the lead to teach younger students about what they have learned.
What advice do you have for those wanting to start a school garden? Go visit other schools that have school garden programs and ask lots of questions. I would also sign up for the 4-H Project Green Teacher course because I was able to make so many connections with other garden leaders throughout the city and gain more resources in one course than I could have ever imagined.
How are you planning for long term sustainability of the garden once you retire or take on another position? My plan for long term sustainability of our school gardens is to get all of the students invested by having the students help plan, build, maintain, and harvest them throughout the year. I also hope to encourage more teachers to start projects in our gardens by showing them how much joy the gardens bring our students. I have written a grant to purchase supplies that will make it easy to bring classes of students out to the garden space to use as a learning lab. They will have clipboards, magnifying glasses, measuring tools, etc. to make observations throughout the seasons. This year our radish harvest was large enough to share with each student in our school, which was a perfect opportunity to open up the discussion of where our food comes from with all grade levels. We are also starting a garden club for grades 3-5, and encouraging parents to join us as we maintain our butterfly garden and harvest our low tunnel gardens.
The garden club members will meet three to four times over the summer to weed the butterfly garden, and the low tunnel gardens will not be planted during the summer months.
We will only be planting crops that grow during the school months due to the lack of staff and students on site during the summer.
Here Are Some Photographs of School Gardens Sent In by Our Readers
Take a Sneak Peak at the New Franklin County OSU Extension Office Now Under Construction
What Is 4-H Project Green Teacher
4-H Project Green Teacher is a school garden newsletter for teachers, afterschool personnel and others engaged in school gardening. It is created by Ohio State University Extension personnel working in the area of 4-H youth development in Franklin County. 4-H is the largest youth development organization in the United States, and is administered by land grant universities in every state.
Unless otherwise noted, images are from Pixabay.com.