If you missed your spring planting and miss getting your hands dirty, Edgecomb Eddy School’s new gardeners are looking for extra hands. Alternative Organizational Structure 98 teacher Ingrid Merrill and the Rotary Club of Boothbay Harbor have partnered with Principal Ira Michaud to revitalize the garden in front of the school. They have installed three more raised beds.
Merrill and Michaud said classes will be able to use the garden as a reference point for an outside classroom next school year.
“There are lots of ways I see it tying into education,” said Michaud. “Besides that, it looks beautiful on our grounds. It’s absolutely lovely to come in and see something growing that's green and colorful.”
Healthy eating being an important part of physical education, Michaud said teachers can use the garden to show the types of food vital to good health and the importance of nurturing.
“From a social-emotional learning component, gardening is great for talking with students in terms of ‛Like plants that we depend upon, how do we take care of relationships of people?’ It's a good, concrete way of talking about how everything requires some form of work in order for you to have some sort of fruit to come from it.”
The project started off as a collaboration with Rotarians to bring classes outside into a garden area, to learn cultivation and reap healthy snacks. Since then, the Rotary has also pledged to help with a project involving the playground.
“We've also applied for a $10,000 grant to add on to the garden. We'll call the program 'Eat Well, Play Well,’” said Merrill. “We said let's start with one raised bed. Then it was two raised beds and now it's three. Now we want to do flowers and everything. It's just a perfect spot right here.”
Merrill planted one bed and third grade teacher Sarah Currier planted another splitting the bed into one foot by one foot sections with string. There was enough material to create a third raised bed.
“When we first talked about the design for some of these beds, the idea behind them was to easily have the kids sketch and learn about a particular plant and for us to easily be able to reference it,” said Michaud.
Last spring, students planted garlic with Lisa Packard from Morris Farm. The greens are now about a foot and a half tall. Potatoes have joined the garlic and Merrill has also planted bean and pumpkin patches. Michaud hopes to continue a program for garden education.
“Part of this project is getting kids to learn about healthy food and gardening, but also to try and get families involved,” said Merrill. “We try to plant mostly stuff that will be ready in September so it will be shared with people who are coming to help out … It's a great community of people already and hopefully this will bring people together even more. Eddy does a lot of outdoor education, so we hope to maintain the enthusiasm for this project.”
With most of the work done thus far by Merrill, Michaud, Rotarian Bill Prince and several teachers who have helped to water and weed, more volunteers are needed this summer, said Merrill.
“You come help us and I'll sign you right up for watering and weeding!”