MET School Garden Project
As a school, we believe in the positive impact of environmental education on young minds. Awareness and respect for the environment start by learning to understand how nature works. Creating and keeping a garden in the school help students appreciate nature and the healthy benefits of gardening, and also understand the importance of water conservation, native planting, composting, and the use of recycled materials.
A school garden can teach children many lessons in ecology, biodiversity and conservation, but school gardens also give kids the opportunity to learn basic academic subjects such as language arts, math and science in an outdoor classroom setting. Researches show that kids learn better from garden-based, learning-integrated curricula.
Keeping in mind all the aforesaid benefits, we are excited to build an organic edible garden this year. We sowed our organic seeds in classrooms with students and we transferred them to the garden this week! We have 5 beds built, and we will have professional help (Ready to Grow – Dylan Terry) and we had a workshop with students on November 2nd. We are growing organic herbs such as oregano, parsley, dill, mint, and vegetables such as Everglades tomatoes, spinach, carrots, turnips and a variety of organic fruits. In the same garden, we will have native plants as well. Working together with METKithen we are also emphasizing the importance of composting to reduce trash and help the environment. For this project, we have been awarded a $250 grant from Fairchild Tropical Garden’s Fairchild Challenge Program! We are also participating in the Fairchild Challenge this year. Furthermore, the Slow Food Organization will lend us a hand in the upcoming days.
We have a second project that will take place in our neighborhood. We are joining the Connect to Protect Network held by Fairchild Tropical Garden. We will help create a PineRock Land Habitat, which is an endangered habitat that can only be found in South Florida, the Florida Keys, and some islands in the Bahamas. These pinelands, interspersed with hardwood hammocks, once covered 185,000 acres of Miami-Dade County. By the time the city of Miami celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1996, only 2% of the pine forest remained within the urbanized areas of the County and outside of the protective border of Everglades National Park. The rest of the forest has been broken into fragments. Seen from the air, the pinelands appear scattered across Miami-Dade’s industrial, residential, and agricultural landscape, looking less like a forest than like islands of trees in a sea of urbanization. A unique plant community, Rockridge pinelands have been officially designated as a globally imperiled habitat. (Source: http://www.miamidade.gov/environment/pine-rocklands.asp)