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The project, in alignment with the National Park Service's 'A Call to Action' and 'Healthy Parks, Healthy People' initiatives, will incorporate youth and community members to establish (and more importantly, have access to) a free, healthy alternative to unhealthy foods.
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Bring a community together that is so far broken that it may be the only thing to bring them back together. Community members, city council, district members and students/faculty members will develop a much better working relationship while working together for a much larger cause.
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Our project will complete the three aforementioned goals in the next six weeks and through to the end of the plant life cycle of the corn and sunflowers to be planted.
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We will create a school flower and vegetable garden and harvest and share the produce. We will ask for donations from local stores to help with the costs. Students and staff at the school will maintain the garden.
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Build raised garden beds at our main branch so members will have a hands-on experience growing their own plants and learning about gardening and vegetables.
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At the start of the year, many of my students refused to work outside of their social groups in the garden. It was a touching transition to see them unite for a common cause after they completed the community map. The students decided to have a fund raiser on parent teacher night to purchase a Japanese Maple tree, and with my guidance, organized themselves into groups. Some students advertised the event, while others created a tri-fold presentation, organized the tables, prepared yogurt parfaits and fruit cups, and sold the food. While the project was started by my Period 2 students, we invited the Period 5 students to help sell the food at the event. Over twenty of my students participated, and at the end of the night, they ran into my classroom with huge smiles and a bucket of money. The classroom environment felt more united after that experience. In one reflection a girl wrote, “At first I didn't think that planting tres in this area was an important as I do now. Now I think every class or school should be doing this." Another student wrote, “"We chose this project because trees are the foundation of everything around us. We knew that if we wanted to fix some of the main issues we see in our community, we had to start with trees because then everything else would fall into place. At first we wanted to just plant more trees for oxygen considering the amount of cars that pass by our community. Then, as we kept talking and sharing out ideas, we realized that we wanted to get parents, teachers and friends involved, which is how our ideas have changed."
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Our project will give the children the experience of buying the seeds, planting the seeds, and caring for the garden as it grows. Measuring the plants, charting the growth of the plants, and determining when to harvest the plants. All hands on experience, done daily. The teachers will brainstorm with the children and discuss with them what kind of vegetables they would like to grow. We will bring the children to the nursery and start our gardening project.
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The custodian is working with the energy department at how to get more efficient LED lighting. In 5 years our district pays $10,000 to light this stair-well. If we had LED lighting we could cut our bill in 1/2. The graphic design class is going to make graphic pictures to decorate the stairwell. We also want to remind students to take the stair well because of the health benefits. The stair well will give students an area to display their graphic designs. Since we can't hang pictures because of the fire codes, the laminate would work in the stairwell. We need funding for the laminate so we can beautify our stair well.
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16 of our classrooms will each be assigned a garden bed (or a portion of a garden bed) as well as a part of the outdoor learning space to cultivate and maintain. Classes will work during their scheduled time on a weekly basis. Classes will tie curriculum and Missouri State Learning Standards to their work in the garden, bringing together language arts, math, science, and social studies to their experiences in the outdoor classroom.
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We will plant herbs and vegetable seeds. Once the seeds sprout and are big enough we will clear the plot for a garden and plant the seedlings. The children will record their observations about the garden in their journals. The class will care for the garden through the remainder of the semester and then we will turn it over to the Boys and Girls Club.

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