Spring is here again and with it the promise of your garden’s activity and bounty!
This year, as part of the Ontario 150th Anniversary celebrations, we are extending and expanding our annual event to build the network of school gardens, and to help build partnerships with local businesses and organizations to support your gardens over the years to come. School Gardens Celebration Week is May 15 to 19.
Because this year marks a special anniversary for our province, we are encouraging each of you to do something special with your garden celebrations. You can choose a day in the week for your celebration (or all the days!) and let us know your plans. A display about your gardens that can be posted in a public space in your school or organization is one way to draw added interest in your gardens. You can also share photos and videos of the display with us, and we can promote your efforts through social media. As part of your display, we request that you include logos for School Garden Celebration Week and Ontario 150, which you can access when you sign up.
This year, because we have generous support from the Ontario 150 Community Celebrations Program, we are able to offer support to each of you to help make your garden efforts sustainable now and over the years to come. Over the coming weeks, with your assistance, we will reach out to potential partners in your community who can provide resources for your gardens, be it volunteer help over the summer months, seeds and equipment or whatever your particular needs may be.
Thank you for your school garden efforts, and for participating in School Gardens Celebration Week! We will be in touch with over the coming weeks to share updates. If you have any questions or needs, please feel free to contact David Fields, Project Coordinator at email@example.com.
School Garden Day 2016 will be on May 20 – just around the corner! As in previous years, the event is held by YOU in your school garden, and when you REGISTER your school and SHARE photos, we ALL get the benefit of knowing we’re not the only ones out there, loving the magic of school gardens, and building towards collective impact!
I recently attended a ministry of Education consultation, with Education Alliance for a Sustainable Ontario. We praised the ministry for their progressive new Policy Framework around Experiential Learning. This is a great frame for our work in the food- and environmental-literacy movement, such as that taking place in school gardens. (You can read my submission to the Ministry about our organization here.)
I’ll be back to you all about this year’s prizes and incentives to register. Meantime, enjoy the sunny spring-like weather we’re having in most of the province!
Belatedly 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!
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!
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.
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.
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 Canadahas 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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
3. The TOP SIX schoolswith the most student engagement in the garden on that day (percentage of school population, provide pictures) willreceive a $75 gift certificatefor 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!
NOTE: If you had registered before, review your profile here and resubmit for 2015.