Select Page

The Garden Program

ABOUT GARDNER SAM

I am Gardener Sam. I have a background in environmental education, urban organic gardening, and conservation management. I have a passion for sustainability, social empowerment, and positive change. I have just recently stepped into Washington Elementary’s already amazing garden space as the new garden coordinator and educator. I want to help these kids feel comfortable in the garden and impart tools onto them that can help green the world.

It is remarkable to witness a child pick lead off a kale plant, and discover that they like it. The Washington Elementary School Garden exists as a refuge from the classroom and the blacktop where students can explore, ask questions, get their hands dirty, try unfamiliar foods, and grow. The program seeks to plant seeds in the garden of the young mind where they might take root and blossom later in life. I hope to give students tools to connect with the land, sustainability, nature, and themselves. Tools include and are not limited to mindfulness, environmental science, awareness, and gardening skills. I want to empower students to want to reclaim their food independence and work towards creating positive change in the world.

For questions, comments, garden viewings, or a desire to help out, please feel free to reach out.

~Sam Weingast

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The Washington Edible Education Garden strengthens our community as it enhances academic achievement, promotes physical and emotional health, encourages organic and sustainable practices, and cultivates empathy for people and the planet.

WHAT SERVICES DOES THE GARDEN PROGRAM PROVIDE?

Outdoor Classroom

All classes have regularly scheduled garden time throughout the 36 weeks of the school calendar. The garden is used as a living laboratory where students are taught the Core Curriculum and environmental literacy concepts through hands-on project-based learning. Lessons include such things as soil science, beneficial insects, nutritional benefits of eating garden produce, eco-systems, plant life cycle, photosynthesis, environmental conservation, garden art and so forth.

Recess in the Garden 

Students voluntarily participate in supervised and structured garden activities during their morning recesses. Students have the opportunity to plant seeds to take home or leave in the garden, dig in the dirt, color what they see in the garden, water plants, pull weeds, collect critters, observe various aspects of nature or just be quiet and read a book.

Intern and Volunteer Coordination

The garden coordinator supervises and coordinates volunteers and college interns who design, cultivate and maintain the two gardens at Washington (Kinder yard and Main yard gardens), to ensure its up keep, supply materials, and grow the food that is shared with students during their class time.

WHO RECEIVES THESE SERVICES?

ALL students at Washington receive the Outdoor Classroom services, 1st-6th grade can also participate in the Recess in the Garden service.

  • On average 170 students participate in Recess in the Garden each week.
  • On average 7 classes have ‘Outdoor Classroom” each week (approx. 180 students).