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{our town community}




by Emily Axel

Students Growing & Flourishing Gardeners across the region are considering what plants they want to set out this year, but many school and community gardens in town will get a jumpstart from students at Buford Middle School. As part of the nonprofit City Schoolyard Garden, students at Buford are caring for more than 6,000 seedlings that they will share with

Spelling Bee Finds a Winner The 70th Annual News-Virginian/ Daily Progress annual regional spelling bee took place on March 4 in the Albemarle High School auditorium. It was an incredible display of talent, as 24 local students put their knowledge to the test. After 66 rounds, eighth grader, Riley Hamp, took first place with the final word, “toxicotious.” Hamp, representing Kat Collins Middle School in Waynesboro, won the last two regional spelling bees and will head to Washington, D.C. to participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May. Here, she will compete for the top honors against students from across the country.

the community. From planting seeds, watering and thinning to potting up, labeling, hardening off and watering some more, the students have their hands full. The City Schoolyard Garden operates garden-classrooms and cross-curricular educational programs at Charlottesville City Schools. The flagship program is at Buford Middle School, which features a 4,500-square-foot organic garden, a rainwater harvesting system, a bicycle-powered water pump to propel rainwater to

Student Volunteer Receives Top Recognition

the beds and a solar-powered hoop house, which is home to the students’ seedlings. The Buford garden serves all the school’s seventh- and eighth-graders who might visit during a science or PE or ESOL class. Students can also take an elective to serve as a yearlong garden aide—the class that spearheads the seedling project. The annual Spring Seedling Project begins in the winter, when students plan their choices and start planting seeds for kale, lettuce, celery, onions, spinach, cucumbers, okra, peppers, tomatoes, herbs and flowers. Watering, thinning and transplanting the seedlings takes place all the way through April. Then, the students begin distributing the plants to nonprofits in town, including their sister City Schoolyard Gardens at the city elementary schools. This spring, Buford students will grow and donate $12,000 worth of plants to community organizations and gardens. Other nonprofits that will receive plants include City of Promise, The Haven Kitchen Garden, Urban Agriculture Collective of Charlottesville and more. Some groups, such as the International Rescue Committee, in turn, pass the seedlings along to families in order to help them restart their gardening traditions in a new country. After they distribute plants to nonprofit organizations, students host a giveaway where the remaining plants go home with students, families and community members in Charlottesville. In exchange, last year, the students earned $850 in donations to contribute towards the cost of this year’s growing supplies. This is one project that participants are happy to see end since it means the plants have all found new homes in which to grow and flourish.

Emily is the youth engagement director and Buford garden educator for City Schoolyard Gardens.


April 2017

Local Charlottesville student Lucia Hoerr, was one of two student volunteers statewide chosen for the 2017 Prudential Student Community Awards. Founder of the local nonprofit Backpack Buddies, Hoerr has spent the past seven summers reaching out to the community for school supply donations and working with the Boys and Girls Club to determine students in need of a backpack full of supplies. These efforts have benefitted almost 1,500 students thus far. Hoerr will travel to Washington, D.C. in May where she and other honorees will be recognized nationally.

CharlottesvilleFamily's BLOOM April 2017  

Volume 18 Issue 4

CharlottesvilleFamily's BLOOM April 2017  

Volume 18 Issue 4