Oak Grove Upper Elementary hosts garden grand opening

Oak Grove Upper Elementary hosts garden grand opening

LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Students and staff members at Oak Grover Upper Elementary worked diligently during the first term of the 2015 school year to create a school garden, where all students have the opportunity to explore a hands-on approach to environmental and agricultural science studies.

Heather Giger, fifth grade teacher and garden coordinator, said the garden was a great way to teach students the concept of farm-to-table.

"We saw that the students really didn't know where their food was coming from," Giger said. "And didn't have the opportunity to have gardens at home. We thought that through the garden they could learn future skills."

Giger and other staff members went to a McDowell Farm School in Alabama to learn how to implement a school garden.

"We started in the spring of last year and then finished at the First of October," Giger said.

The school has included a 45-minute instructional block at the end on the day on Fridays where students will go through a 12-week cycle of clubs.

"We have engineering, we have cooking (and) we even have the etiquette classes," Giger said. "We have research; we have guest speakers that come every week."

Local businesses and staff members contributed all materials and animals to the garden.

"We've had several donors," Giger said. "We were able to get a grant though Lowe's Heroes. They came out personally and helped us start and with all the supplies (and) they donated everything."

Principal Heather Roland said the garden has been a blessing to the school.

"We've seen an improvement in behavior," Roland said. "Kid's want to come to this. We've seen an improvement in scores because it's proving hands-on activity."

Students will have the opportunity to cook the food that they grow during some of their instructional classes.