Glenwood Middle School receives grant to expand garden


By Bruce Walton

bwalton@vindy.com

Boardman

The sky opened up after recent light showers, offering a perfect time for Boardman Glenwood Middle School students to move their garden out to the courtyard in the middle of the building.

The kids entered the courtyard, helping to take the plants out and get the garden prepared, moving the soil and transplanting their Glenwood greenery into a new home. All of this activity is thanks to a $1,500 grant the H.O.P.E. Club received from the Scotts Miracle-Gro Co.

The GRO1000 Grassroots Grant is part of the company’s initiative designed to help create 1,000 gardens and pollinator habitats in the U.S., Canada and Europe by 2018 to celebrate Scotts’ 150th anniversary. The grant, applied for in February, will help fund the construction of the garden to support more plants, which for now is partially completed.

The Helping Our Planet Earth Club started two years ago and has grown as an eco-friendly activity attracting students who want to help the environment.

Eighth-grader Abby Yocum has been a member of the club for two months and said she loves the legacy it will leave behind.

“It’s just really fun to go out into the courtyard and make something that’s going to be here for years to come,” she said.

Scott Lenhart, eighth-grade science teacher and one of the club advisers, supervised the kids as they moved most of the plants they’ve been growing indoors to the new outdoor courtyard garden.

The club has been growing its plants in a science storage room using a hydroponic system – in a water-based, nutrient-rich solution and moss in plastic containers – without the use of soil.

The club has grown a surprising variety of produce, including tomatoes, green beans, okra, watermelon, bell peppers and some wild flowers and sunflowers.

Megan Turillo, fifth-grade science teacher and another one of the club advisers, said she’s happy to see the courtyard concept bear fruit and to see the children invest themselves in the project.

“It is fantastic to see this thing come to fruition and the kids own it, and that’s what’s the beauty of it,” she said. “They walk past that with pride, it’s like a living entity of what we teach. It’s like a living science book.”

Lenhart hopes the grant money will pay for more hydroponic systems and the expenses to complete the courtyard garden. The club also plans to use the produce from the garden to supplement school lunches or for local restaurants.

Though the school year will end soon, Lenhart said as a teacher for summer school, he’ll have lots of time to check on the garden’s progress.

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