Community Garden Clean-Up
Time & Location
About the Event
We have met with individuals from Stockton University and they are assisting us with design and ensuring that our garden has the resources and care it needs. The Stockton University students, our parishioners, our students, our staff, and the community all support the project and will be assisting with maintenance and the build of the garden.
The Principal and School Affairs and Development Director will lead the garden maintenance and the integration of use of the garden into our curriculum. Stockton University students will be deployed to maintain the garden throughout the year. The Parishes Facilities and Maintenance department will also maintain the grounds.
Our Lady Star of the Sea Regional School is a multicultural Catholic elementary school serving the best values through the curriculum, extracurricular activities, service-centered organizations and education enrichment opportunity programs.
Teachers, parents and students and community members will build, fill, plant and harvest edible gardens at Our Lady Star of the Sea Regional School.
The garden will be used to teach children where food comes from, and lessons of math, English, social studies, health, foreign languages, science, art and P.E. will come alive.
At workshops, teachers and parents will learn that children’s food choices affect their readiness to learn, their ability to comprehend – and their long-term health.
Food-waste composting efforts will be part of our program.
Chefs will provide lessons on flavor and cooking to students.
Local businesses will use the school garden produce – and help fund the garden.
Grateful food pantries have accepted excess produce for those in need.
I would define success by having all of these programs in place and having a large number of participants in all of our program.
To ensure these efforts continue and expand, a core group of stakeholders will be formed the Our Lady Star of the Sea Regional School, a 501c3 group. It is setting new goals that include:
- Integrating garden-based lessons to pre-K-8;
- Obtaining grants and mini-grants to teachers and community members with relevant projects;
- Providing nutrition2learning workshops for faculty, staff, parents and groups;
- Implementing tasting and flavor classes and workshops, pre-k-8;
- Cooking and garden classes/after-school clubs, pre-K-8;
- Farmer visits to schools, pre-K-8;
- Food marketing literacy seminars for educators and children;
- Garden residency programs for pre-K-8;
- Growing community with outreach efforts to surrounding businesses.
We are excited to bring a School Garden to Atlantic City, NJ. Many of our students do not have access to fresh fruits and vegetables at home or access to a garden.
The garden provides ample opportunity for making science inviting and relevant to students’ lives by inspiring active exploration and problem solving. The garden encourages inquiry as students use their senses, reasoning, and communication skills to find answers to questions. These experiences can help improve students’ attitude toward science. Key science concepts that can be explored in the garden include organisms, cycles, basic requirements for life, plant anatomy, adaptations, food webs, decomposition, interdependence, ecological principles, pollination, and diversity of life. Students practice and hone scientific process skills by observing, classifying, inferring, measuring, predicting, organizing and interpreting data, forming hypotheses, and identifying variables.
Life Science • What are the differences between living and nonliving things? How are humans like plants? How are they different? Distinguish and describe differences and similarities. • How does a plant grow? Observe the life cycles of plants using fast-growing plants in your classroom. • What do plants need to grow? Do all plants need the same things? Study the various conditions that different plants need to grow. Compare the things people need to the things plants need. Create experiments investigating what happens when plants are exposed to different amounts of light, water, air, space, and nutrients. • Investigate the functions of different plant structures (cotyledons, roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits, and seeds). • How do plants reproduce? How do seeds work? Dissect flowers and seeds. What factors influence germination of seeds? Create experiments to investigate how light, heat, and moisture affect germination. • Explain to students that some characteristics are inherited and others are caused by the environment. Locate examples of both in your garden. • How do plants use energy from the sun to make food? Discuss photosynthesis. Do plants need light to photosynthesize? • Discuss how plants adapt for survival. Research adaptations of seeds for dispersal and adaptations of flowers for attracting pollinators. Observe pollinators in the garden.
Earth Science • Create a garden weather station. Record daily measurements and compare conditions with plant growth. • How are some soils different from others? Compare and contrast the properties of different types of soils (density, air spaces, presence of living organisms, composition, texture, smell, appearance). • Simulate soil erosion in your classroom garden. Observe the difference in soil loss when water is splashed on a tilted, planted pot, and on a tilted, unplanted (but soil-filled) pot. Physical Science • What is pH? How does it affect plants? Use litmus paper or a test kit to test the pH of different soils. Investigate how plants respond to soils with different pH levels. • Simulate the water cycle in the indoor garden by covering it with a “dome” of clear plastic. Study and observe the transpiration, evaporation, and condensation of water. • What are the properties of different types of light? Cover pots with cellophane of different colors to screen out all but one wavelength of light from plants. Observe plant growth. • How does energy change to matter during photosynthesis?
The garden provides a plethora of opportunities to practice basic mathematical activities such as calculations, comparisons, measurements, and varied representations of data (charts, graphs, etc.). Math becomes practical and relevant when students implement concepts they have learned in the classroom in a reallife garden setting. Designing and planting a garden takes mathematical problem solving and practice. The hands-on applications presented by gardening activities can help to motivate students often confused by abstract textbook questions and examples. Here are a few math activity ideas: • Measure the growth rates of plants and display results on different types of graphs. Make predictions regarding future growth. Use standard and nonstandard units of measurement. • Host a bean race. Plant a number of beans at the base of a trellis and track their growth on a chart. Determine the rate of growth and award the fastest plant a blue ribbon. • Using information from seed catalogs, predict dates of germination and maturity. • Plan backward from a desired harvest date to determine when each crop should be planted. • Measure your garden parameters and calculate the area. Use graph paper to make a map to scale of your garden. • Calculate amounts of fertilizer to use per quart and per liter of water.
The garden will be used to implement hands-on nutrition lessons.
Specific activity ideas:
• Compare the importance of nutrients in the health of humans and of plants.
• Study the nutritional value of the various crops in your garden.
• Identify the parts of the plant represented by common fruits and vegetables.
• Discuss the difference in nutritional value of various plant parts.
• Study adaptations of plant parts that make them good food sources.
• Sprout various seeds for eating.
• Conduct a blindfolded taste test using classroom-grown vegetables and
• Experiment with food preservation techniques, such as drying, freezing, and
• Grow a salad garden and give students a chance to sample the harvest
with a salad party.
• Invite a grocery store employee to talk to the class
about where their products come from.
• Visit a local farm.
• Create brochures with information on daily
food intake recommendations.
• Plan a day’s menu that includes all components of a balanced diet.
• Keep food journals that highlight how
many fruits and vegetables are eaten and
describe any new produce tried.
The following individuals will be involved in the enrichment programs/Lessons: