After School Garden Program
Georgia Southern’s Center for Sustainability, the Departments of Biology and Health and Kinesiology, and the Office of Student Leadership and Community Engagement have partnered with Bulloch County Parks and Recreation, the Bulloch County Board of Education and Lee Family Fa
rms to develop an After School Garden Program at five elementary schools in Bulloch County. Georgia Southern student volunteers teach elementary children lessons in plant biology, agriculture, health and nutrition during a 10-week garden program that takes place during the Parks and Rec Afterschool Program, Our Time. This program was featured in Georgia Magazine’s July 2015 issue. The garden activities help children to gain a fundamental understanding of plant biology, agriculture, and nutrition, while also engaging them in important and beneficial aspects of gardening. Children learn that our (plant) food doesn’t just come from the grocery store, it actually grows in the ground. The program combines experiential learning, visual aids, and interactive activities that help facilitate an effective, yet enjoyable atmosphere.
Now on its fifth year, the After School Garden Program continues to be a great success. During Fall 2015, the 2nd graders of Langston Chapel, Mattie Lively, Mill Creek, Julia P. Bryant, and Sallie Zetterower Elementary Schools who go to the after-school program, Our Time, participated in the ten-week After School Garden Program. The first six weeks of the program focus on plants and the benefits of gardening, while the last four weeks focus on nutrition and making healthy nutritional choices. Children are part of the process from seed to table. They plant the seeds, nurture the growing plants and even harvest and eat the fruits and vegetables from their school gardens! At the end of the ten week program, children participate in a harvest celebration at a Statesboro Parks and Recreation facility in Statesboro where they cook with all of the produce from their gardens and share their garden experiences with one another. We are especially grateful to Lee Family Farms who provides the plants for the gardens and helps the children to get their gardens established and to Longwood Plantation who has supported the program with their exceptional compost soil.
ASGP gives me the opportunity to inspire young kids to explore the field of science and sustainability. Not only is it a learning experience for the students of Bulloch County elementary schools, but it shows young kids that sustainability, biology, and nutrition can be fun and they can make a difference even at such a young age.
Last updated: 10/28/2020