Greening my kids school: launching ACM Acre Learning Garden

Last Friday, my girls and I proudly joined the PTA’s newly formed Green Acre board at our elementary school.

As an extension of RISD (Richardson Independent School District)’s Environmental program, http://www.risd.org/group/aboutrisd/RISDGoesGreen.html, our local PTA at Arapaho Classical Magnet ( http://www.acmpta.org/) partnered with the Green School Initiative (http://greenschoolsinitiative.com/) in an effort to elaborate on their pillar of “Greening the School Yard” (see additional information at : http://www.greenschools.net/article.php?id=131

Help has also come from partnering with the EPA through their EPA Environmental Education (EE) Grant Program: (http://www.epa.gov/education/grants_faq.html)

Through the assistance of the Home Depot Foundation, as part of their communityYouth Garden Grant  (http://www.kidsgardening.org/), the school not only received money and resources (topsoil, mulch, fruit trees), the Home Depot team actually came out and helped us build the garden beds! Here are a few pictures of our fabulous time spent (kids, parents, teachers, and Home Depot volunteers) last Friday laying the groundwork for the garden! Everyone had a blast!

The initial challenges were to getting everything in order to meet the EPA grant requirements:

  • The garden had to be completely organic (no pesticides)
  • The garden has to be completely self sustaining (makes use of rainwater and roof runoff). This required us to invest in a rainwater conservation system, generously donated by Comerica bank.
  • We had to have a certain fund established ($5000 for startup, to $25000 to sustain) in order to break ground, which is separate from any of the other school funds or programs already in place.

Active fundraising and solicitation helped us to bridge the Home Depot Foundation (who donated fruit trees, wood, soil, and other materials as well as manually labor to build the project!), as well as establish some future relationships which will expand the garden’s life throughout the school year,

For example, Central Market (http://www.centralmarket.com/about.aspx) has signed up to donate herbs for an herb garden, and later come in once the crop is ready to do a cooking presentation for the children incorporating the herbs and stressing the need for healthy eating.

 

Future Goals

Future goals also include establishing a composting garden:

Earth 911 takes about composting in their article: Why compost in the first place? http://earth911.com/news/2012/05/02/how-to-choose-the-right-composting-system-for-you/

“If recycling hasn’t kept your household trash cans as empty as you expected, food waste is likely to blame. The EPA estimates that each American throws away an average of 1.3 pounds of food scraps daily. Composting allows you to recapture these resources and reuse them as fertilizer in your own garden or another garden in your community – keeping loads of useful materials out of the landfill.”

The school is also looking into a worm bin for composting the food products left over from kids’ school lunches:

“Let worms eat your organic waste! They will happily turn it into some of the best fertilizer on earth – worm compost, otherwise known as “worm castings” or “vermicompost.”

Only a few things are needed to make good worm compost: a bin, bedding, worms and worm food.”

More information on worm bins can be found at Eart911: http://earth911.com/news/2007/04/02/composting-with-worms/

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3 thoughts on “Greening my kids school: launching ACM Acre Learning Garden

  1. Chuck Douros - Senior Writer for Runwritedig

    Hello from California. Just wanted to drop you a quick note to let you know I enjoyed this article, and the program looks great; alive and well. Thank you so much for back-linking my blog post in your related articles section. To complete the series, I thought I’d let you know that there is “Week One” and “Week Two” preceding the “Week Three” article you posted. Essentially it’s a three-week series; vermicomposting from start to finish. Here they are, in case you wish to include them. Keep up the great work!
    WEEK 1: http://runwritedig.com/2012/05/28/worm-bin-composting-week-1/
    WEEK 2: http://runwritedig.com/2012/06/02/worm-bin-week-2-let-the-upcycling-begin/

    Reply
  2. heybsane

    hello have a good day this is a wonderful work that everyone should do to help the nature and environment, I’am so glad to see this action, thanks a lot.

    Reply
  3. emassey09

    I think thats so good that they have this organizations for children to get involved with at their schools. I know when I was back in grade school we didn’t have anything like this to get involved in. I think now it really helps children understand that we need to do all we can to help out the environment.

    Reply

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