Seventh graders at Clintonville Middle School are learning about agriculture in a hands-on manner, while tying in writing and research skills.
The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation awarded a $220 grant to the students, who are partnering with the Clintonville High School FFA students to design, prepare, and plant vegetable herb, small fruit, and perennial gardens on school grounds.
The seventh graders’ responsibilities included researching species and varieties best suited to each purpose and location. Students gathered information and started planning for the garden in April. Seventh grade classes have begun work on the garden, and a new group of seventh graders will take over the project each September. Each group will prepare detailed reports of their accomplishments and recommendations so that subsequent classes can continue the project seamlessly.
At first glance, it may seem odd that students in Becky Polzin’s Language Arts class have found themselves outside working on a garden, but writing skills are very much a part of this project.
“Students have worked hard in the classroom to research gardening tips. I applied for the initial grant, and members of the class have been researching different grants to continue the project. Some have already begun writing applications for grants due this fall,” explained Polzin. “Students have also been busy writing reports on what vegetables to plant and how to design the garden. They’re happy to be outside working on making the project a reality, and they have worked at it enthusiastically. They really enjoy hands-on projects.”
Students Tyler Conradt and Ian Gretzinger worked together to help design the garden and are now working diligently to see the project move forward.
“I enjoy just working outside and having fun,” said Conradt.
“The most interesting part is that we get to help decide what gets planted,” Gretzinger added. “We will be able to eat some of the produce this fall. It’s a neat project, and I’ve learned that it takes a lot of people to make this happen-no one person can do it themselves.”
Cassie West also said she enjoys the project because it is a “green” adventure.
“It’s great to be able to do something that helps the environment, and it’s nice to be able to be outside and plant all the different vegetables,” West stated. “It’s nice to know that the garden will continue to get bigger as more classes work on it in years to come.”