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Schoolyard Garden Overview
Groundwork Lawrence aims to cultivate healthy habits at a young age with schoolyard garden programming that promotes healthy eating, fitness and environmental awareness. In partnership with Mass Audubon, Groundwork is creating a “seed-to-harvest” schoolyard garden curriculum aligning with the state frameworks that combines academic lessons, hands-on activities, physically active games, and work in the garden. Our programs run weekly, after school, and throughout the entire school year.
Several lessons within our curriculum were developed in partnership with Merrimack River Watershed Council with financial support provided by Enel Green Power North America, Inc.
Read about the Lawrence Schoolyard garden program in the Eagle Tribune!
Leonard Middle School
In 2007, we built our first schoolyard garden and piloted our first after school program at Leonard Middle School. It was a great success, and encouraged Groundwork Lawrence to continue to seek out new schools for schoolyard garden programming. Currently, we run our sessions at Leonard through the Wrap Around Program, which seeks to boost student's academic performance and test scores by providing after-school learning opportunities. We have an group of inquisitive and energetic young men who love to learn, eat, stay active, and work in the garden.
South Lawrence East Middle School
We run the after-school group “Dirty Hands Club” at South Lawrence East Middle School (SLEMS) through Project Focus (Families in Our Community United for Success), and in partnership with Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) . Because of our partnership with WIC, a registered dietitian is present during all of our sessions. Students get the chance to have their questions answered, learn about healthy eating, and use what they learn in our garden lessons to grow their own healthy food. This creative group of 5th and 6th graders love to be in front of the camera, water and harvest in the garden, and make wonderful skits about what they are learning, from photosynthesis to the digestive system.
Tarbox Elementary School
Throughout the 2010-2011 school year, we programmed garden beds in the Cronin Community Garden with students from Tarbox's Girl Scout program and an after-school science club. Staff and administration at Tarbox are planning on using the garden as a way to outreach to parents this spring, and we plan on starting up our after-school club again in Fall 2012.
As part of a KABOOM! playground build in the spring 2011, we built garden beds at the Arlington school. We plan to start an after-school garden group comprised of both middle and elementary students this April. We are installing additional raised garden beds this spring with support from the New Balance Foundation.
Leahy Elementary School
We are building new garden beds at Leahy Elementary with support from the New Balance Foundation. Administration and teachers plan on engaging parents to help grow fresh fruit and vegetables, and will program the garden through their summer school. This ties in nicely with the UMass Extension Nutrition Programming for youth and parents that is currently offered after school.
Wetherbee Elementary School
We will be installing garden beds at Wetherbee Elemetary school this Earth Day. The school plans to use the garden for both in-school and after-school education, and as a way to engage parents and other community members.
Lawrence Family Development Charter School
On Earth Day, we will also be building garden beds at Lawrence Family Development Charter School. The school is excited to incorporate use of the garden beds for in-school and after-school programming, and to use as a space for parents and community members to learn from as well.
Lawrence High School
We are opening and expanding Lawrence High School's garden on Earth Day, where our Green Team youth will help maintain crops and sell produce this summer at the Lawrence Farmer's Market and to the Lawrence Public School Food Service to include fresh, local produce in the Summer Meals program.
For more information about our gardening program, contact Nia Keith or call her at (978) 974-0770 X7008.