24 February 2012

School Garden Project Strikes Again!

This time the lucky school is Thunderbird Elementary, located in the northeast corner of Vancouver. On February 24th, the grounds on the east side of this inner-city school, described as “a “mud-pit” by one of the school’s teachers in a Vancouver Sun article, began their transformation into a beautiful school garden.

Catriona Gordon, the School Gardens coordinator for SPEC (Society Promoting Environmental Conservation), is the driving force behind the project, but SPEC is not doing it alone – it is a true community effort, as it should be. It all started when a student at Tupper Secondary School saw the school’s plea for help in the news, and decided to do something about it. He spoke to his woodworking teacher Russ Evans, who contacted SPEC, and that was the start of many planning sessions with Thunderbird Principal Henry Peters and teacher Birgid Lehmann.

By the end of the day on February 24th, the students of Thunderbird and Tupper had built 5 large planter boxes and filled them with organic soil, braving the snow and rain in good cheer - thanks in part to the hot drinks and food prepared by PAC members and community volunteers! Every grade participated, from kindergarteners carrying small buckets of soil to grade 7’s hammering and measuring. The following week, students started planting cold crops in the planter boxes, as well as potatoes in their classrooms. This garden is an opportunity for students to experience the fun and beauty of growing and harvesting their own organic fruits and veggies, and strengthen their connection to nature.

As a testament to the value of school gardens, a number of organizations chose to donate wood, garden supplies, seeds and food, for a total of $4,000! Special thanks to major supporters FP Innovations, Hewer Home Hardware and Home Depot. We’d also like to thank Rona, West Coast Seeds, Gaia Garden, Starbucks, and Cob’s Bread who all answered our call for donations to make this project a reality. Last but not least, thank you to Queen Elizabeth, Thunderbird’s sister school, for donating a large cedar planter, and to the Vancouver School Board for transporting wood from Tupper to Thunderbird. Thank you all!