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GREEN THUMBS: TES class celebrated for garden project

The Troy University Office of Civic Engagement recognized Mrs. Jade Henderson’s homeroom class as winners of the “fifth grade garden challenge” at Troy Elementary School.

The garden challenge is an initiative of the Office of Civic Engagement, which connects students with ways they can serve in the local Troy community. Earlier this year Troy students, faculty and staff, as well as PTO volunteers, relocated the school garden to create a collaborative outdoor learning space for students in close proximity to the school’s nature trail and outdoor classroom.

“We want this space to not only be a chance for students to get some fresh air and learn about gardening, but an extension of the classroom,” said Lauren Cochran, coordinator of Troy’s Office of Civic Engagement. “Our goal is to provide this avenue for students to engage in hands-on learning experiences.”

Troy students visit the garden regularly to teach the fifth graders how to grow vegetables and the importance of nutritious foods. The curriculum has included the use of critical thinking skills and geometry to diagram garden building design, reducing waste and becoming more responsible for the environment through composting, as well as caring for their garden. Squash, cucumbers, bell peppers, romaine lettuce, collard greens, and strawberries were among the plants grown in the garden this Spring. Each week students from the six homeroom classes competed for points in the challenge. The garden challenge concluded with a blind taste test and enjoying a pasta primavera recipe using ingredients from the garden.        

“This has been one of our most enjoyable initiatives,” Cochran said. “We are grateful for the partnership with Troy Elementary School. We enjoy seeing kids try foods they have never tried before.”