This spring, the teachers at the Long Island school developed a gardening curriculum as an extension of the fitness and nutrition program that began last year. With the help of a grant from MBNA, the school purchased a small greenhouse and supplies to begin gardening, and the students planted seeds in early April. Over the course of the spring they tended to their wide variety of seedlings, and studied soil, composting, and seed growth. For Mother’s Day they each took home flowers they had grown themselves, and in June they took home a pumpkin seedling to plant with their families. The rest of their seedlings were offered for sale to community members. The plant sale was very successful, and the school raised several hundred dollars. The money will be used next year to purchase seeds and soil to keep the program going, and also to purchase a bed at the brand-new community garden.

While the students were developing green thumbs in the greenhouse, the Long Island Civic Association was developing a community garden. The garden contains 24 raised beds and a very sturdy deer fence, and has already become very popular. Many of the community members who are tending garden plots purchased their seedlings from the students, and both the school and the recreation committee have garden beds as well. Interested students will be able to help with the garden maintenance over the summer, and gather the harvest in the fall.

To complete the gardening trend on Long Island, the library has purchased many books on gardening, including gardening with children and community gardening. The school now has a collection of curriculum materials that help to integrate the lessons learned in the garden to other disciplines.