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Posted April 22, 2019
The new Horizon Garden Club is offering students a chance to nurture green thumbs, conduct hands-on science, and help pollinators.
The club, which includes 18 students from 5K through fourth grade, meets every Tuesday after school. Parents and grandparents are welcome to join.
“It's an enthusiastic group, and we are having fun learning and growing,” said advisor Jackie Murphy, a third-grade teacher at Horizon.
Supplies to start the club were funded by a mini-grant from the Plymouth Education Foundation. The club also is using tools from the garden house at Horizon that were purchased in part by a Tools for Schools grant from the foundation. The garden house itself was built by PHS students with supplies purchased by the Plymouth Rotary Club, which provided funds to create the Golden Garden at the school in 2009.
Horizon Garden Club meetings begin with a garden-inspired snack, giving the group a chance to talk about where food comes from. Any fruit or veggie scraps go into the worm compost bin in the garden. District chef Caren Johnson will be visiting the club with healthy snacks at a future meeting.
District garden coordinator Laura Grunwald helped the club plant microgreens – pea shoots – which they harvested and ate after just two weeks.
The club is creating a pollinator garden to attract butterflies and other pollinators. Students have started growing different types of milkweed seeds as well as other host and nectar plants, and will be adding more perennials and Wisconsin natives. A former student who now works at Moraine Gardens will bring in native plants to show the students, Mrs. Murphy said.
The club also has been hard at work on a spring garden cleanup. Students pulled out dead plant material and added it to the compost bin. Everyone got a chance to till the soil with the new broadfork, a key piece of equipment purchased with the Tools for Schools grant.
At its most recent meeting, the club built pollinator boxes to house baby bees and other helpful insects. Students also used microscopes to examine bee and butterfly wings and various types of pollen, thanks to slides borrowed from the Horizon Library.
The club is part of the district’s overall strategic plan, which aims to provide all students with hands-on experience in the production of food, as well as to offer more extracurriculars at the elementary level.
In addition to serving students, the school gardens also are used by the community. Miss Grunwald is teaching a class on backyard composting on May 16 in the Golden Garden, and plans to offer a Gardening Club this summer.
• Read an article about the gardens’ role in our emphasis on wellness.
• Register for the Intro to Backyard Composing class offered through Community Education & Recreation.
• Check out the Extracurriculars section of our award-winning District Report Card to learn more about our extensive and growing range of extracurriculars.
• Check out the Wellness section of our award-winning District Report Card to learn more about the garden classrooms at each of our schools.