Described by her principal Brian Smyth as “the heart and soul of our garden,” this Grade 4/5 teacher from Okanagan Landing Elementary School helped establish an amazing 5,000 square foot school garden, which is the size of a portable classroom. (“I’m one of many,” she said, insisting it’s a team effort of students, staff, parents, and community donors.)
The school had vegetable plots for years but three years ago it developed a pollinator garden for educational purposes. The vegetable garden grows peas, lettuce, carrots, beans, potatoes, beets and onions and the pollinator section includes flowers, drought-resistant plants, shrubs, bulbs and many native species. It’s become part of the curriculum and 13 of the 16 divisions at the school are involved. An irrigation system was designed by one of the classes as a science project.
“Everything that we grow in the garden, the children eat,” she said. “Tons of salad gets made, we had strawberries for the first time, and the children will often grab a chive and munch on it. It’s a peaceful, relaxing place.”
Student success stories have been countless and many other educators have visited the garden to see how it can be done.