STEM Academy at Nimitz creates outdoor classroom and garden thanks to NEEF grant

Jun 27, 2019 | News

Jodie Collins is eager to help save the planet.

The STEM Academy at Nimitz student just wrapped up an exciting school year learning about the importance of conservation and recycling in Jennifer Humphries’ environmental science class.

Thanks to a North East Educational Foundation (NEEF) grant, Jodie and his peers got hands-on experience through an outdoor classroom and garden.

In just one school year, the school’s central outdoor area was completely transformed with a butterfly garden, a thriving vegetable garden, picnic tables, a windmill, a water wheel and solar panels.

“It’s made such a big difference on campus,” Humphries said. “The food itself, not only did the kids get to grow it from the seeds to see the process to harvest it, but then to actually get to eat some of it, and then being able to take that same food and donate it back to families in need on campus.”

The vegetables grown are given to the campus family specialist who gives it to families in need.

“It’s amazing that we are really getting to take it beyond just the classroom and to the community,” Humphries added.

For Jodie, his favorite part is collaborating with his peers and doing hands-on activities.

“I like that we do a lot of projects together and how much we work,” Jodie said. “We’re learning while we’re having fun at the same time.”

The students connected rain barrels to the gutter system and had them attached to an irrigation system that provides water to the fruits and vegetables. They also created a compost bin that provides soil and nutrients for the fruits and vegetables they planted.

“I learned that through the garden it’s easy to reuse a lot of stuff,” Jodie added. “There’s a lot of saving techniques that we can also use at home.”

Jodie is looking forward to implementing saving techniques and is grateful to NEEF donors for helping make this learning experience possible.

“Thank you very much,” Jodie added. “This will help many more generations and our knowledge to save things.”

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