On a beautiful fall day at Wilderness Oak Elementary School, a group of 5th graders buzzed around the Peace Garden. Working together, they cleaned up the garden area by pulling weeds. Then they dug and planted drought-tolerant perennials and shrubs.
“We’re having a great time being out. Some of them have never gardened before. It’s a great experience for everybody,” said Janice Lanford. Mrs. Lanford, a school counselor, had applied for the $1,600 NEEF grant and organized today’s project.
The students eagerly cooperated to beautify the area and got to spend some time outdoors. Together, they layed pavers and placed two park benches in ideal locations, where one could sit and enjoy the flowers as they grow, watch birds in the bird bath, and witness the nesting of new chicks in the birdhouse.
The benefits of gardening and having green time extends back into the classroom as the students reap the benefits of the peace nature brings while they learn about plants and ecosystems. NEEF encourages out-of-the box teaching that enhances student experiences and outcomes through the innovative grant program.