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Wilkins Elementary STEAM Academy students harvest fresh vegetables, herbs from learning garden

Wilkins Elementary STEAM Academy students pose in front of the learning garden after harvesting some vegetables and herbs

Kindergarteners and fifth graders at Wilkins Elementary STEAM Academy spent part of the morning harvesting fresh vegetables and herbs from their learning garden.

The garden was planted earlier this spring and maintained by staff and students throughout the past few months. The garden was made possible thanks to a grant from Giant Eagle, the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dole Packaged Foods and the Captain Planet Foundation as part of the Project Learning Garden.

The Project Learning Garden program provides a context for multidisciplinary learning related to this groundbreaking initiative, ranging from nutrition and science, to social studies, math, and language arts. Students learn about food origins; engage in authentic field investigations; manipulate the environment to understand math in real-life applications; and, write across academic disciplines. 

Thursday morning, the fifth graders helped the kindergarten students harvest some of the fresh produce. The garden contains zucchini, cucumber, spinach, chard, kale, tomatoes, carrots, radishes, basil, pumpkins and various flowers. The students then learned how to wash their fresh veggies, added a little homemade dressing for some extra flavor, topped it all with a few mandarin oranges, and enjoyed a healthy snack.

Wilkins Elementary STEAM Academy principal Ms. Allison Kline expressed her thanks to everyone who helped make the garden a possibility. 

"It really is a great action step in the district's commitment to being a green district. For Wilkins, it really complements our nature trail in the back and the learning classroom we have back there," Ms. Kline said. "I need to thank the teachers who took charge of this grant and planted the garden with the kids - Mr. Bothwell, our tech coach; Ms. Mathieu, kindergarten teacher; and Ms. Smith and Mr. Brown, two special education teachers."

Wilkins tech coach Mr Bothwell helps a student harvest a tomato from the school's learning gardenA Wilkins Elementary STEAM Academy student harvests plants from the school's learning gardenA Wilkins Elementary STEAM Academy student harvests plants from the school's learning gardenA Wilkins Elementary STEAM Academy student washes plants harvested from the school's learning gardenA Wilkins Elementary STEAM Academy students enjoy salads made of fresh produce harvested from their learning garden

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