PIQUA — Piqua School District staff and volunteers met on Wednesday to discuss the addition of two pollinator areas within the Garden Tribe Schoolyard Garden near Piqua Central Intermediate School.
According to Curriculum Director Scott Bloom, the garden is in its second year of operation and was a coordinated effort between Piqua City Schools, Piqua Catholic School, Miami County Master Gardeners, the City of Piqua, project co-chairs Ruth Koon and Anna Baumeister, and garden designer Mark Casto, along with numerous volunteers and donors.
“A lot of funding came from many donors throughout the community,” Bloom said. “From banks to individuals to some charitable foundations, a lot of different supporters came to help.”
Bloom said the addition of pollinator gardens, which will include flowers that pollinators like bees are attracted to, will give students an opportunity to witness the pollination process firsthand.
“In Ohio, one of the things we study with the kids is that pollinators are sort of on the decline,” he said. “So, if we could do just a little section here for our kids to study, I think it will be a great learning opportunity.”
Casto, a retired Piqua landscape contractor who played a part in the garden’s initial planning process, will also help design the pollinator areas. He recommended “curvilinear” beds near two corners of the garden and suggested the addition of stepping stones in order to allow for closer observation by students.
Fifth grade science teachers Merrianne Thompson and Angie Bergman were in attendance Wednesday to hear ideas and give feedback for the project.
“This will really give the kids the opportunity to come out and see pollinators like butterflies and bees and witness what they do,” Thompson said. “And will also hopefully teach them to not be afraid of them and that we need them around.”
Sixth grader Wesley Thompson also attended Wednesday’s meeting and said the Garden Tribe Schoolyard Garden as a whole has been a positive addition to the school.
“It’s fun because you get to try new things,” he said. “It’s a good experience.”
Bloom noted that while the garden itself serves as a fifth grade learning tool, the goal is for each student to experience it.
“Our fifth grade students have a full curriculum they work through when it comes to ‘garden to table,’ and it’s a continuous project,” he said. “This way, all of our kids, as they move through PCIS, will get that experience of being able to garden and figure out where things come from. We really stress the concept of where food originates, and we encourage students to understand that this is not just a school activity, but something they can do at home, too.”
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