Trimmer Elementary students are getting their hands dirty
During the 2021-22 school year, fifth grade teachers Ms. Megan Eckbold and Mr. Glenn Medice came up with the idea of taking their science curriculum to the next level by introducing their students to gardening and agriculture in the most direct way possible – by digging into the dirt.
Students learn about living systems through a biologically-based science curriculum, and one of those systems is plants. A module dedicated to gardening inspired Ms. Eckbold to combine the study of living systems and gardening and apply it to a hands-on learning experience. When the students were learning about composting, Mr. Medice shared the idea of including agriculture into the mix, and they knew they had a winning idea. Thus, the Trimmer Elementary Community Garden was born.
With approval from Trimmer Principal Dr. Matt Minacci, Mr. Medice and Ms. Eckbold sought funding through grants and donations from community partners and foundations.
Mr. Medice and Mrs. Eckbold’s classes started and maintained the garden throughout the school year. Knowing that summer was approaching and not wanting all their hard work to go to seed, the students created and delivered flyers asking the surrounding community to take care of the garden over the summer. Some of the students, along with community volunteers, watered and harvested the plants during the summer break. The goal of the project, while teaching students about the living systems, is also to increase community collaboration. According to Mr. Medice, “Our hope is that in the future, we will have community members be responsible for creating/maintaining their own plots. It has been a rewarding and enjoyable experience for students and teachers alike, and it continues to evolve with the addition of a greenhouse.”
Ms. Eckbold shared, “It was great to see students so eager to get involved. Students who may have been quiet or unengaged in the classroom really shined while getting their hands dirty in the garden. It was also rewarding to see students’ willingness to try new vegetables because they were the ones that grew them. I think everyone will remember our garden parties with the sweet kale salad and roasted root vegetables.”
The next big project on the horizon is the construction of a greenhouse; until that is completed, students will start their plants indoors to be ready to transplant when the ground is ready in the spring.