Story of the Month – May

Submitted by Jodi Palensky of Beaverton, Oregon

We are currently in our second growing season at the Bethany School Learning Garden at Bethany Elementary in Beaverton, Oregon.  Our school garden was built with a grant from the Intel Corporation and the
support of more than 20 families who share a love for gardening.  Lorrie Bazzi, a fellow garden volunteer, speaks about our founder, sharing, “Janice absolutely believed in the magic of a school learning garden where students could learn about their food, where it came from, and why organic choices are important.  It was her dream that our school would build a strong community around this garden where we could learn from each other.  She had a vision of a community that would be supportive of each other, and new members could jump in wherever they were in their journey toward making more healthy choices for themselves and the environment.”  Sadly, Janice died this past February. But her spirit lives on in the students of Bethany and the volunteers who help the garden she envisioned grow and flourish.
This year our After School Garden Club, which has been meeting over the past six weeks, boasts 40 interested, enthusiastic and industrious young gardeners who bring this garden to life with the support of many wonderful and committed volunteers.  The photos I sent were taken during two of our garden club sessions….Some are of our first club meeting, in which we turned over a cover crop which had grown over the cold season and provided our garden beds with much needed nitrogen. The kids learned all about what soil is made of. The other photos are from a session in which we learned how beneficial ladybugs are to our environment. We built a ladybug habitat and released 1,500 ladybugs into our garden.
Gardening with these children is sheer joy. And produced a bountiful harvest of heartfelt verbal gems. Said one Bethany student, “I love to nurture plants.”  Another joyously declared, “I got to choose what to plant.”  A third burst forth with, “I love nature so much I could cry!” Said a fourth, “I love our Bethany garden because it’s full of love and varieties of vegetables.”

Jodi Palensky, BSPTO Garden Committee Chairperson
(If you have questions about starting a program like this you are welcome to contact Jodi and “like” the “Bethany School Learning Garden” on facebook.

 

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