Page A18 Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Vernon Morning Star
Discovery garden grows into reality Vernon Morning Star Staff
Like the products it will produce, the Kidston Elementary School Discovery Gardens have been planted, grown, nurtured and loved. Phase 1 of the gardens came to life Saturday, April 28, through a beautiful community collaboration of all ages, school families and local business support with Build A Garden Day. “We have been humbled by the generosity of grant donations locally, nationally and internationally,” said Rebekah Pedersen with the project. “And extremely grateful for the local organizations and businesses who have given so much too. Due to an increased demand we have completed relocating and assembling all our new and existing garden beds and soil. “Still to come this spring is our teaching and growing
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Kidston Elementary School students take a breather after working on the school’s Discovery Garden project. (Photo submitted) area with compost, a shed/teaching wall and bench seating to fit a classroom.” Offering an outdoor space where students can explore with their senses and cultivate confidence through growing gardens has been a long dream at Kidston Elementary. In 2015, the dream of a school garden came to life when a passionate parent/grandparent team, a garden committee and an invested teacher came together and implemented 10 raised garden beds, bringing the Kidston school garden to life. The Okanagan Science Center’s Landed Learning program successfully supported one class, whose teacher, in turn, has developed her class curriculum around gardening and is now sharing the knowledge with their ‘buddy’ class. As well a group of parent volunteers ran a weekly garden club with more than 25 very excited regular members. The garden was a hit. The 2016/17 year brought significant interest and growth to the garden, with more than half of the classrooms wanting garden space to incorporate into their curriculum.
Based on that, the garden committee, PAC and a local eco-design company specializing in school gardens joined hands to design an outdoor learning legacy. The exciting new design is based on student and teacher wish lists consisting of sustainable permaculture, edible gardens (used for garden to plate program), experiential learning gardens (native plants/pollinators), an adventure forest (logs/tires/boulders for exploring/climbing) and a special requested feature; an outdoor covered classroom structure for students and teachers to gather and grow year round. “By implementing these three components of garden, outdoor classroom and adventure forest, we feel the benefits will be widespread to every child,” said Kidston principal Debbie Cullum on the school’s website. “From promoting physical activity, encouraging healthy eating habits and connecting students to their outdoor environment to promoting exploration/ imagination, thinking creatively and gaining new perspectives, there will be a true Discovery in every visit.” Kidston is working hard with the Vernon School district to bring in Phase 2 soon. That will have native, water-wise plants and pollinators, an outdoor covered classroom and exploration area with food forests. Support for the project, said Pedersen, has been overwhelming. The project thanks the following for support and donations: Tolko, R.E. Postil & Sons, Lavington Sand & Gravel, Craftsman Custom Sheet Metal, Farm Bound, Watkin Motors Ford, North Okanagan Optimist Club, The Vernon and District Garden Club, Stoke Roasted Coffee, Dr. Loland and Dr. Taves Dentistry, As well Farm to School BC, Evergreen, Whole Kids Foundation, Healthy Schools BC, Kiki the Eco Elf and Nutrients For Life.
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May 09, 2018 edition of the Vernon Morning Star