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Students in Howard County gain their green thumbs

Howard Schools Gardens
Posted at 5:00 PM, Aug 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-02 17:23:01-04

HOWARD COUNTY, Md. — Some elementary school students in Howard County are gaining their green thumbs.

This comes as the Howard County Local Health Improvement Coalition gave $4,150 to the Community Ecology Institute who set up gardens at a couple elementary schools.

Students at Bryant Woods and Talbott Springs Elementary Schools are learning the principles of gardening, but they're not picking up a book,

"These gardens were installed at the end of April, the students had a wonderful time filling the garden with soil and packing the dirt down really well and planting the seeds,” said Loni Cohen, Community Ecology Institute Nourishing Gardens Coordinator.

It's part of a community garden project that provides fresh produce and nutrition education opportunities for students.

"Some of our science concepts that start in elementary school are pollination and going from seed to plant so that really reinforces and lets them see in real time what it is,” said Principal Danielle Shanks of Bryant Woods Elementary.

Shanks said it teaches fourth and fifth graders that healthy eating habits can have long term benefits.

"Being able to have their own special job it gives them purpose, they feel like they are part of something bigger than just the school, they are part of the community so they are very proud" said Shanks.

Students get to watch what starts as tiny seeds grow into veggies and fruits they recognize. Kale, tomatoes and big green peppers just to name a few.

They get to see a beginning, middle and end to their project.

"For them to actually be able to see that and watch it, it teaches them so many things in terms of the growth and patience and nurture and things in the environment,” said Reena Rambharat, Howard County Local Health Improvement Coalition Director.

Come fall, students will get to take it a step further with nutrition activities run by the University of Maryland’s SNAP program, in which they are looking to expand to all grades.

Once the fruits and veggies are fully grown, they'll be donated to families in need at the on-site food pantry.