Posted on 08/30/2017
This is the image for the news article titled MEMORIAL GARDEN AT GARDEN COUNTY ELEMENTARY FLOURISHES

The group was awarded a $500 grant from Farm Credit Services of America. They met throughout the winter to design the garden.  Ground breaking took place in May as much sod was needed to be removed to allow for more space. As school was releasing in May, students were involved in preparing the ground and planting. An arbor was placed at the entrance of the garden along with bright yellow brick pavers creating a yellow brick road (Mrs. Nelson was a Wizard of Oz fan) to two beautiful hibiscus plants that were donated in memory of another beloved school employee, Michelle Cook. Two benches have been placed to allow school children and all community members to enjoy the beautiful blooming flowers and abundance of fruits and vegetables – most of which were donated by community members and businesses. Four trees – a pear, two apple, and one cherry – are located along the eastern edge to provide fruit and shade to those wish to enjoy the garden year round.

Throughout the summer, Summer CHAMPS, the 21st Century Learning Community Center in Garden County Schools, participants along with the local Nebraska Extension Staff tended the garden. “This is a unique learning opportunity for our youth. They will see produce grow from seed to fruit every year, which even in an ag-based community, not all youth are able to experience,” stated Sarah Paisley, Extension Educator for Garden County. “On top of that they have the opportunity to eat fresh fruits and vegetables that they may have never tried before as they pick it!” During the summer program, youth harvested beans and peas. They even created their own pavers to continue paths throughout the garden. More and more vegetables are ripening and the school lunch program is using on their salad bar this fall. The after-school CHAMPS students and STEM Club participants will continue to tend the garden as well as learn more about ag literacy throughout the fall with the garden being the best teaching tool available.