Any garden requires hard work and dedication, but the commitment to school gardening all year long requires planning and the enthusiasm of young gardeners.
During the summer, the garden at the educational complex is livened up with bees and butterflies, thanks to students who cultivate it year round.
The Ventnor Elementary School Garden Club is learning everything they possibly can about pollination, the life cycle of butterflies, and how to rotate crops. No detail is too small to escape their notice, as they even examine small pests under a microscope.
The club was started with a $1000 grant from Subaru in 2009 to create a pollinator garden to assist the monarch butterflies. Fourth grade teacher Steve Evinski leads the group after school and on Thursdays during the summer months. Ervinski and fellow teacher Mary Kate Henrich worked to get the garden planted and operating.
“It was a great way for kids to do a service learning project working strictly with native plants from New Jersey,” he said.
Since then, the garden has been supported through additional grants, and the club fundraiser, a Mothers Day plant sale.
In addition to science lessons, Evinski incorporates writing assignments into the curriculum around the garden. He asks students to write stories about their experiences. The class also made extensive use of math in measuring and designing the raised beds.