Herman Street students growing green thumbs
Sean Chase/Daily Observer Jennifer Francis' Grade 3 class at Herman Street Public School have been learning all about fostering a green thumb in a new education program developed by the Petawawa Horticultural Society. In the photo are (front to right) Chelsea Mclean, Ridge Day, Grace Ikerenge, Ella Fitzpatrick, Connor Mcguigan, Ashlyn Craig, Jaiden Galton, Nick Slade, (back left to right) Lachlan Koziel, Jayden Maclean, Ben Alexander, Titus Newman, Maaike O'Connell, Sammy Waito, Charlotte Penney, Lois O'Brien, Liam Stutzinger and Jack Van Gemeren.
With spring finally arriving, the students of Herman Street Public School are taking time from reading, writing and arithmetic to develop their inner green thumb.
The Petawawa Horticultural Society is engaging the school in a new pilot project which sees volunteers come into the classroom to mentor the kids on how to properly plant and care for garden plants and flowers. For the society it's an opportunity to plant seeds, no pun intended, in the minds of the students hoping they will come to appreciate horticulture, agriculture and the natural world that surrounds them.
“The children are our future in horticulture,” explained society volunteer Lois O'Brien.
Based on a junior gardeners initiative started by the Perth Horticultural Society, the six-week program introduces students to proper growing techniques, soil types, and composting, along with hands-on experience of planting seeds, container gardening and flower arranging. Every week the children select a new plant from the “Plant Library” to observe and record findings in their journal and then exchange the following week.
The program has been undertaken by the Grade 3 class of Jennifer Francis. As part of their instructional they have had the chance properly plant tulips and daffodils, as well as those garden variety vegetables that they can find on the dinner table. O'Brien said this kind of education dashes many misconceptions that the kids have.
“They basically just thought that food came from the store,” she said.
For Mother's Day, the students created bouquets of flowers that were donated by Kevin's Flowers. Once the program ends, the students get to take their plants home. O'Brien said there is every chance they can build on this program and introduce it to the others schools in Petawawa.
“Hopefully we can expand this next year and tell everyone in the society how much fun this has been,” she said.