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We were fortunate to receive a grant from the NOAA to help us transition our school garden to drought resistant plants!

As mentioned at the start of the school year, Grace has been the lucky recipient of a NOAA Grant of $1,000 in order to transition the school garden to drought tolerant plants (Phase 1) and to help prevent erosion on the slide hillside (Phase 2).  Phase 1 of the project is underway and we thought it time to provide an update on our progress (especially as the garden looks a mess!).

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The Gardens at Heather Farm feature many native, drought resistant species.

We started the Garden Project by working with the MWF and M-TH classes on the water cycle and discussing the importance of conserving water in this region of sometimes limited water availability.  Marlene then arranged a very special field trip to Heather Farms Garden for both classes.  The children were led on a guided tour of the drought tolerant garden where they had the opportunity to see, smell and touch different drought tolerant plants.  The children then worked in groups to select drought tolerant plants that they would like to plant in our garden spaces.   These plants are on order and we are planning on planting in January.
Co-opers and parents attending Maintenance Days have helped to prepare the garden space by transplanting some of the plants from the garden bed to spaces throughout the outdoor classroom.  We have also replenished the soil in the garden beds.  The soil was delivered during a MWF class, much to the students’ excitement!
We had hoped to have the planting done in November in order to take advantage of the rains that would help the plants get established.  We decided to push our time line back when we consulted with Patrice Hanlin (the gardener at Heather Farms garden) and she recommended waiting for the cold snap to pass and the school to be back in session in order to hand water the plants, as the rain is not coming as planned!

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Penstemon comes in many colors, including purple, white and red.

So, here we are in January and we look forward to planting the gardens with the children throughout the month.  By the way, if you are interested in doing some planting at your house that will please your preschooler, penstemon was a universal favorite!

– Trish Kawahara, Teacher (M-Th class)