By Nancy Gutierrez
Lincoln Elementary School Received a $500 grant from the Tulare County Farm Bureau and Tulare County Office of Education to rebuild an existing garden for students.
Lincoln teachers Terran Jones, Debbie Watkins and Dana Shuman realized in November that they had an educational resource at their fingertips, a plot of land with beds to grow plants or vegetables.
"The garden was made a couple of years after the school was built," Jones said. "It's been a little neglected."
Watkins is a member of the Tulare County Farm Bureau. She knew of a grant provided by the farm bureau and Ag In The Classroom (AITC) - a program that works with K-12 teachers, students, and community leaders, to enhance education using agricultural examples - that would not only provide funds but resources for students and teachers. The grant from the TCFB was ideal because though the garden was already constructed, complete with its own irrigation system, teachers at Lincoln were looking to completely remodel the garden.
"We'd like to have a compost area and fence it in," Jones said. "We've even looked into contacting the national wildlife association and making the garden a habitat for butterflies."
Lincoln received their check on March 24. That next day kindergarten teacher Ben Bolin was working to dismantle the old flower boxes and ready the garden for renovations.
Local businesses have helped with the garden project as well. Jones said Central Valley Asphalt is donating rock to use as stepping stones for the garden and the school district has donated soil to help level the ground and plant their produce.
Once the garden is finished Watkins said each grade level will have an area to work. With the help of TCFB and AITC teachers can use the garden as an outdoor lab to implement what they have taught in class. Watkins said AITC provides standards based curriculum that teaches students math and science through agricultural practices.
"I'm really excited about it," Jones said. "I hope more teachers will get involved in it. Right now we don't have tools but the grant will help us buy tools."
Anyone interested in donating tools to the garden project at Lincoln can call 562-2571 or e-mail Jones at [email protected].