With the deadline to apply for this year’s Environmental Education Grants program just around the corner, we’re looking back at a previous recipient of the grant, McMath Middle School. McMath has been awarded funding through this program for many years, and it is so wonderful to see what they have accomplished!
The McMath Middle School garden was initiated by the school’s Counselor, Mary Arndt, with the school’s first grant from KDB’s Environmental Education Grants Program. Since that time, the garden has expanded and flourished into a school-wide effort, with more than 300 students and 20 adult volunteers contributing their time in the last year alone. While the jobs in the garden and the children involved may change, Mrs. Arndt says that one thing is constant – no matter what the weather, what the job, students love to volunteer to help with gardening.
At McMath, students are heavily involved in garden plans, plant placement, and planting designs, and many get the first-hand experience of the often trial-and-error nature of gardening. The students also focus on the concept of giving back to the community, through the school’s garden-based “Gratitude, Gardening, Giving” program. Through this program, the school donates floral arrangements – with all components grown in the McMath garden – to the residents of local nursing homes. The school’s beautiful, fragrant flowers and accents have also graced the tables at many a KDB event!
Mrs. Arndt’s approach is to focus on the children involved and provide each child with a positive experience, both in their garden work and in interactions with other students. Simple, joyful moments are what abound – like when a child discovers a bug in the garden, and all other activity stops! Occasionally, a child that previously had trouble in school will “come out of their shell” and come into their own, as they discover they can truly have an impact on the world around them. Ultimately, these students are shown that wonderful things can come from making your community more beautiful – one plant, one garden, one school at a time.
If you are interested in applying for up to $500 for your school’s environmental learning projects, apply for KDB’s Environmental Education Grant program today! The deadline to apply is next Friday, November 14, at 5:00 p.m.