Gardeners Celebrate School Garden Day 2015

20150528_152327Belatedly I realized we hadn’t updated you on the lovely School Garden Day celebrations across Ontario. From Thunder Bay to Ottawa, Sarnia to Peterborough, and in the GTA, 36 schools registered or were included in school garden partner non-profits registrations. That’s up 38% from last year!

Our six winners of $75 gift certificates, thanks to a micro-grant from the Biodiversity Awareness and Education Network, were:

Winners were chosen by number of students participating in School Garden Day, represented as a percentage of the school population. So here’s a challenge – if you won a gift certificate, find another school to bring into our School Garden Day Celebration next year!

The first 20 teachers who registered for School Garden Day also received a cool package from USC Canada –  a Bean Biodiversity Kit featuring 3 different heritage bean types grown by Ontario farmers. Recipients are urged to pay it forward, saving those seeds and passing them along, as farmers and gardeners have done for countless generations and will continue, as part of our human right to food and conviviality!

Bravo to all participants, and please share the message widely – garden-based learning is effective and fun, and every school should have a garden!



Sunday (for the IGES team)

St. Brigid CES Garden Day

Sue Luff, Co-Chair St. Brigid CSC, writes:
I would say we had a total of approx. 75 kids involved in our gardens the week of School Garden day!
We are still a work in progress as we have a second phase going in after summer.  Our school is running an adopt a tree, shrub or plant program to help fund our large project.
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Five Mile School Garden, School Garden Day

Tammy Baxter, OCT, parent volunteer with Five Mile Garden, writes:

Some pics of our greening on May 22. Between the clearing, weeding, planting of flowers, pumpkins and sunflowers, there was the involvement of 2 whole classes and our Green Team. Approximately 45 students! Thank you for encouraging such a great event! We had a beautiful day.
image image_1 photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4

Yorkhill Elementary School Garden Day

Congratulations Yorkhill! Looks beautiful & fun. Butterflies and kids alike will enjoy these plantings.

Doris Behar writes:

This is what Yorkhill Elementary School did.

We made 2 planters outside the front doors of the school.  We made an area for a butterfly garden and the  kindergarten classes planted the plants.  A parent is designing a self watering irrigation system for this garden.
Finished butterfly garden kindies planting 3 kindies planting kindies planting2 planters

School Garden Biodiversity Day photos, Winchester PS

Meghan Stock from Winchester Public School sends this:

Hello Sunday,

We had great participation in our Garden Drum circle. All three kindergarten classes came out to the garden where we drummed and chanted for the better part of half an hour.

Thanks for this great initiative!

Well thank YOU Meghan, for the wonderful photos below.

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Winchester Public School in Toronto is where I got bit by the school garden bug! So happy to see these and to have had today to hang with the Winchester crowd at their Fun Fair.



Webinar – Funding your School Garden

From our friends at EdWeb:


Join us for the next Growing School Gardens webinar!

Tuesday, May 19 at 4 p.m. Eastern Time
Innovative Ways to Fund Your School Garden Program
Presented by John Fisher, Director of Programs and Partnerships for Life Lab; with Kevin Hesser, Middle School Teacher and Co-Director of Gardens to Grow In

In This Session
There is no one way to fund a garden program – there are hundreds! In this webinar, Life Lab’s John Fisher and Gardens to Grow In’s Kevin Hesser will share a wide variety of ideas to finance your school garden program. From finding grants and supportive policy, to school garden micro-enterprise and farm-raisers, their discussion will provide funding ideas for all aspects of your school garden, including garden supplies and staffing school garden instructors. John and Kevin’s presentation will share examples of how they have funded the school garden programs that they run, along with insight from other successful garden programs. Topics will include:

  • Tools for creating a garden budget
  • Telling your story
  • Garnering school or district support
  • Cultivating donors
  • Farm and garden based fundraisers
  • Tips for finding grants
  • Policy that supports school garden programs
  • Innovative ways to fund a garden program
Join this live, interactive session to learn new ways to fund your new or existing school garden program. John and Kevin will field questions from attendees after their presentation.
To Participate in the Live Session
– This webinar will be recorded and archived in this community for viewing at anytime.
– As a member of the Growing School Gardens community, pre-registration is not required.
– Log in at at the scheduled time.
– Test your system for best quality:
About the Presenters
John Fisher is the Director of Programs and Partnerships for Life Lab. Through his work at Life Lab, John provides training and support to thousands of garden educators across the nation. John is a co-founder of the California School Garden and National School Garden Networks. He coordinates the garden program at Pacific Elementary School in Davenport, California. Follow John on Twitter @lifelabtweets.
Kevin Hesser is a school teacher and garden coordinator in Calaveras Unified School District. He teaches art, gardening, and cooking at Toyon Middle School, and supports garden programs at several elementary schools and the high school farm. Kevin co-founded Gardens to Grow In, a 501(c)3 non-profit that supports and promotes healthy and sustainable lifestyles in Calaveras County schools and communities by teaching children and families how to grow and prepare healthy food through school and community garden based programs.
This program is co-hosted by the Edible Schoolyard Project, the National Farm to School Network, and Life Lab.
Visit our Google calendar to view all webinars this month.
Follow us on Twitter @edWebnet to learn about upcoming webinars and special events!

School Garden Biodiversity Day! 2015

For the past 2 years, Imagine a Garden in Every School has celebrated School Garden Day on a Friday in May. This year, the date coincides with the World Biodiversity Day called by the United Nations, May 22.

We know that School Gardens represent Biodiversity by their very nature. Some grow food; some grow native wildflowers – but all engage children and youth with our real and changing world.


To highlight the convergence of food biodiversity in this year’s celebration, USC Canada has offered a free gift to the first 20 teachers/garden educators to register their school’s garden. All participants will receive a certificate. Here’s how to participate:

  1. First register your Ontario school garden at qualify for a prize from USC Canada – Biodiverse & Beautiful Beans!
  1. On Friday, May 22, hold an activity in or around/about your school garden. It can be simple or ambitious – it’s up to you! (Biodiversity!) Send pictures of your event to

3. The TOP SIX schools with the most student engagement in the garden on that day (percentage of school population, provide pictures) will receive a $75 gift certificate for Home Hardware (or local garden supply outlet), courtesy of the Biodiversity Education and Awareness Network!

We’ll feature all pictures and school gardens on our blog as we receive them.

Thanks to our partners!

USC logo       BEANfinallogo

NOTE: If you had registered before, review your profile here and resubmit for 2015.

Twitter: @GardInSchools



USC Seed Gift


Biodiversity Education and Action Network =


What to do on School Garden Day

drumming in garden

by Megan McDonald, pre-service teacher

School Garden Day is fast approaching! Only 1 more week! Unfortunately, that also means report card season is coming up, and now is the time to squeeze in those last bits of curriculum you still need to cover. It can definitely be a challenge finding room for everything in the curriculum and a school garden often feels like an extra, that you visit if you have time. However, there are plenty of ways to integrate the school garden across the curriculum! While planting is the most obvious way to participate in school garden day (and it fits quite nicely into the Understanding Life Systems strand of the science curriculum!), it certainly isn’t the only way.

Here are some other potential ideas:

Language Arts:

  • Write a descriptive paragraph about something in the garden
  • Write a persuasive writing piece about why students should spend more time outside/why we should have a school garden
  • Write a procedural writing piece about how to care for a garden
  • Write a newspaper article about your school garden (or about school garden day?)
  • Have your silent reading period in the garden
  • Have your literature circle meetings in the garden
  • Read a story about gardens/composting/animals in the garden


  • Count the plants within your garden and create fractions, decimals, ratios based on the data collected
  • Create graphs based on the plants found in your garden
  • Conduct a survey among your class about the contents of your garden (Ex. What is your favourite plant in our garden? Do you like kale? etc.)
  • Measure the heights of different plants. Visit again next week and see how much they have grown!
  • Measure the beds in your garden and calculate the area/perimeter (and capacity if a raised bed!)
  • Calculate the capacity of various planters and determine how much soil you will need to fill them. How much will this cost?
  • Draw the garden (to scale) on grid paper
  • Find different angles, 2D and 3D shapes in the garden
  • Challenge students to create math problems for the strand you are working on based on the garden! Maybe some of these can show up on their next assessment!

The Arts

  • Create a soundscape in the garden
  • Do a drum circle in the garden
  • Sketch your favourite part of the garden
  • Create a sculpture using items found in the garden
  • Do improv in the garden (dramatic or musical!)
  • Photography in the garden
  • Create a site-specific dance that can only be performed in the garden
  • Create a dance or series of tableaux that show the passing of the seasons in the garden/life cycle of plants


These are just some of my ideas (without even touching on the more grade-specific curricula of science and social studies). Please feel free to share your own ideas in the comments!