2018 Budding Botanist Winners
Klorane Botanical Foundation and KidsGardening are excited to announce the winners of the 2018 Budding Botanist grant program. Designed to support garden programs focused on teaching students about sustainability and biodiversity, these amazing schools have plans to create new or expand existing gardens to provide their young gardeners with the chance to explore their world through real-life, hands-on experiences. The ultimate goal of the Budding Botanist program is to inspire our youngest citizens to value the environment and protect their local ecosystems.
Here are our 2018 winners:
Chicago – Academy for Global Citizenship
The Academy for Global Citizenship is a Chicago Public Charter School located on the city’s industrial and underserved Southwest side. Sustainability Coordinator Marney Coleman shares “With food and farming as a central teaching tool, students learn the power of their daily choices to improve their own wellbeing as well as the health of their communities and the earth. Students graduate with a strong understanding of natural systems and a responsibility towards their communities and the planet.” Students in K-8th grade participate in inquiry-based activities integrated into each grade level’s core curriculum that are also designed to address students’ social and emotional needs. Educators foster environmental stewardship by teaching about topics such as native plants, pollinators and through the use of sustainable gardening techniques such as drip irrigation. The Academy also incorporates garden harvest into their cafeteria and offers a student-run mobile farmers’ market to bring locally grown, organic produce to their whole community.
Kansas City – Citizens of the World Charter School
"Our students have begun their journeys as being conscious consumers,” says Sara Murphy, Citizens of the World Charter School Parent and Special Education Process Coordinator. “At CWC-KC we emphasize the importance of respecting the body and its connection to the environment–this means guiding students to consider not only what they eat and put into their bodies but also what they do-- how they treat others and the world around them.” The school is going to use the grant funding to install a native plant pollinator garden in the front of their building that will serve as an education tool for their students and a model for the community. They also plan to build a Monarch Waystation garden on their playground and purchase worm compost stations to teach students the value of adopting sustainable practices.
Los Angeles – Rosemead High School
Rosemead High School’s “Best of Thymes” garden exists at the edge of an urban campus in one of the most densely populated areas in Los Angeles County. Five years ago, Rosemead teens established a program to replace water-intensive landscaping with xeriscaping and focused on growing things that matched their desert-like climate. Almost immediately, the garden became a catalyst for other school sustainability projects, involving classes across content areas that integrated garden learning in Biology, Chemistry, English, and Art. Teacher Joseph Vasquez shares that “integrating classroom learning with ‘real world’ gardening projects motivates high-risk students to stay in school and persist to graduation. Garden projects rally more students to care about the environment and take action.” Their newest project to be supported by the Budding Botanist grant is their “Wisdom of Weeds” garden. The goal of the project is to challenge existing thoughts about plants that are traditionally thought of as “weeds” and urge students to investigate the horticultural and ecological purpose of all the plants that appear in their garden such as their role in soil health and as a food source for pollinators. Mr. Vasquez hopes the project will teach students the value of critical analysis and expand their knowledge of complex environmental systems.
New York – P53K District 75
P53K is a special needs New York City public school program serving K-12th grade students in Brooklyn. Principal Heather Leykam shares, “Many of our students are kinesthetic learners and as such P53K envisions cultivating a sensory garden that accommodates their different learning styles.” She believes their new garden “will afford our students the best opportunity for successful teaching and learning about their environment and the impact it has on all aspects of their day to day living. ” They will use the funds from the Budding Botanist grant to create a fully accessible garden space for students of all abilities to learn from and enjoy. They plan to integrate garden activities into an “adaptive science curriculum that results in sustainable gardening becoming an integral part of our everyday learning environment and school culture.”
San Francisco – Garfield Elementary School
Garfield Elementary School’s garden program is as diverse as their student population. From school day lessons taught by Food Corps volunteers to a special student-led business that sells healthy snacks and natural beauty products, students learn about science, nutrition and socio-environmental justice through the garden program. Teacher Abdul-Haqq Khalifah’s goals are to make sure students are “active participants in their food choices” and also aware of “their impact on the world.” Through the Budding Botanist grant, they will rejuvenate their existing garden beds and also add worm composting bins and rain barrels to expand the use of sustainable horticultural practices.
Washington, DC - Eagle Academy Public Charter School
Eagle Academy Public Charter School is launching their new school garden program as a key component of an overall Environmental Literacy Plan. STEAM Integration Specialist Karen Brooks-Bauer explains, “We have three big goals: living and learning sustainably, appreciating our natural environment near and far, and understanding where our food comes from.” In addition to starting a school-wide recycling and composting program, they will focus on teaching about how strong local food systems are an important part of healthy and sustainable living. Karen shares, “all of our students will engage in inquiry-based explorations using technology involving the planning and planting of the garden and as well as the design and implementation of a school-wide recycling campaign. This will help prepare them to take on real-world challenges that they will face in the future.”