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Marlborough Elementary Celebrates New Garden
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2021-08-25

            A grant awarded to a first grade teacher at Marlborough Elementary allowed her to convert a hobby into a valuable educational experience. Last week, district officials and students celebrated a new garden at the school.

Tenley Willman plants mint in Marl-

borough Elementary's news garden

last week.

According to Heather Levan, the garden exactly fits her class' social studies curriculum, which teaches how food is grown and is delivered to market. Issues related to math, science and problem solving were also part of the project, according to Principal Allison Stephens.
            The garden already needs to be expanded, according to Levan. "Look how full it is," she said.
            During an Aug. 19 ceremony, eight rising second graders helped to harvest and eat the vegetables they planted months earlier at the school, located at 1450 Gravel Pike. They had a salad made with the tomatoes and cucumbers planted in the garden.  Watching her former students, wearing gardening gloves and working in the dirt made the whole experience worthwhile, according to Levan.

            "Seeing the reaction of the students is the greatest reward for me," said the teacher, who will begin her 24th year in the district when classes start Monday.

            Superintendent Allyn Roche lauded the project. He pointed out that it supports innovation and creating local partnerships, which meets two prongs of the district vision statement.

            An avid gardener, Levan applied for a $3,000 grant last fall from the Captain Planet Foundation for a Project Learning Garden and Sustainable Initiative. She decided to complete the paperwork for the grant – funded by Redner's Markets and

Carlie Zepp picks tomatoes in the new

garden. 

Dole Packaged Foods – after a parent lamented the need for a garden in a Facebook post.

            Levan, who purchased the materials and submitted the receipts to the foundation, designed the seven-bed garden. She said five classes of 120 first graders worked together in the spring to build the boxes and implement the soil.

            The students took turns watering the garden, which included pumpkins and string beans, on a schedule. Each class got to pick what they planted in a bed. Levan said her class chose beans, marigolds and sunflowers.

            The incoming first graders will plant kehl, broccoli, cauliflower, red cabbage and mint.  "Where we are with the pandemic, it was an excellent excuse to get the kids outside and interacting," Stephens said.

            The teacher offered a lesson on planting. Levan told her students to stick a

Maxx Vincent slices a cucumber that was 

grown in the garden at Marlborough 

Elementary School.

pencil in the dirt, drop the seeds in the hole fill in the hole.

            She took the project especially seriously. At night, Levan often drove to the school to check on the garden.  "I always made sure to have the principal's cell phone number handy in case the police came by while I was here," she said.

 

 


 

 

 

 

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