Warren Yoder of Goessel has been volunteering time to lead a gardening project at Goessel Elementary School for the past 18 months.
Now, because of a $2,500 grant from the Kansas Department of Education, USD 411 will be able to compensate Yoder for his time, as well as providing additional resources for the gardening program and a curriculum provided by the state.
GES was one of only four schools in Kansas to receive the grant for project-based learning initiatives.
All classes in kindergarten through fifth grade receive at least 20 minutes of instruction from Yoder every week. Some classes contribute more time during the week, depending on what needs to be done in the garden.
Yoder attempts to include lessons about weather, insects, and soil in his time gardening with students.
“This project ties in neatly with multiple science and nutrition guidelines and helps reconnect students to understand where their food comes from, how it is produced, the nutritional value of fresh fruits and vegetables, and teamwork,” GES Principal John Fast said.
Students participating in the garden project have raised or planted apple trees, beans, blackberries, broccoli, cabbage, cantaloupe, carrots, cherry trees, corn, cucumbers, lettuce, peach trees, pear trees, potatoes, radishes, raspberries, strawberries, summer squash, and tomatoes.
Long-term goals for the project include involvement with high school students and the high school greenhouse. The school is also exploring the idea of involving retirees living independently at Bethesda Home.
Agricultural education teacher Zana Manche and Bethesda Home Administrator Eric Schrag are assisting with the grant.