A New Setting for Learning
When you think back on the sort of learning you did in your school years, you probably envision a traditional classroom, or maybe an auditorium or gymnasium. But increasingly, in Oregon public schools, there is a new venue for learning: the school garden.
At most recent count, there are over 750 school gardens in Oregon. That’s over half the schools in Oregon, including at least one in every county of the state! They include schools at every grade level. And they give students the opportunity for the sort of hands-on learning that just might inspire them for a lifetime.
Who’s Gardening in Your District?
Visit the Oregon Department of Education’s interactive map to see which schools near you have taken learning outside to the garden.Check Out the Map
But Why Gardens?
The goals for the garden programs are as varied as the schools themselves. Some supplement the school’s own child nutrition program with fresh fruits and vegetables. Others serve as demonstration gardens and “laboratories” for science, math and other subjects from the curriculum. Even art projects can find their way to the school garden as murals, steppingstones and more!
Chickens are surprisingly easy to raise and are a great addition to a school garden. So far, 29 schools in Oregon include chickens as a part of their school garden program!
Keeping a small flock can introduce students to coop planning and construction, record keeping to track egg production, safe handling and sanitation — not to mention building empathy by caring for living animals. So many possibilities!
Even more schools are proactively keeping bees and other pollinators alongside their gardens. More than 40 Oregon schools have at least one beehive. Others are growing milkweed to help endangered monarch butterflies make a comeback. And all of them are helping students draw important connections between pollinators (and other beneficial insects) and a strong food supply for the planet.
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