Gardening resources for schools

Gardening resources for schools

Students at High Shoals Elementary School in Oconee County work in their school garden. A new UGA resource will help school groups that want to build or enhance a garden.

Photo by: April Sorrow

Georgia teachers looking to start or enhance their school’s garden now have an online resource, thanks to UGA’s College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences.

The UGA Extension School Garden Resource Center offers kindergarten through eighth-grade lesson plans that use school gardens to teach the state curriculum. Horticulture Professor David Knauft collected and adapted the school garden lesson plans to make it easier for teachers to use their school gardens or to start new ones. During his research, which included focus groups with teachers, school administrators and volunteers, he found that many teachers felt like they didn’t have time for gardening during the school day and didn’t have the support they needed to maintain the gardens.

Knauft first learned the importance of linking enrichment activities with state-mandated curriculum when he helped develop Project Focus, a UGA program that gives college students the opportunity to teach curriculum-based science in elementary and middle school classrooms. In addition to the lesson plans, the website has a comprehensive guide on how to start and maintain a school garden and a list of grants and funding sources for school and community gardens. It also includes resources from other state extension agencies, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and nonprofit organizations. Kaiser Permanente’s Partnership for a Healthier America helped fund the project.

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