School Garden Spotlight: Lowell Elementary

Lowell Elementary 3rd grade teacher Liane Koester likes to emphasize “bringing the food cycle full circle.” That full circle is made manifest in the Lowell School Garden!

Tomatoes for the Lowell cafeteria

Tomatoes for the Lowell cafeteria, fresh from the vine!

Established in the spring of 2016, the Lowell garden was the result of Lowell PTA vision, with support from Common Threads and funding from Whole Kids Foundation. Lowell Principal Mary Sepler remembers the creation of the garden as “groups [coming] together as a Lowell Family to make it happen.” Students and teachers helped build the beds, and Art Docent Amy Gould facilitated the colorful ceramic art, created by students.

According to Principal Sepler, the Lowell garden has become a “very special and cherished outdoor classroom.” About the size of an average classroom, the garden serves 14 different classes and almost 300 students. Each class plays a role in growing, maintaining, and harvesting from the space. This Fall, Lowell 1st and 2nd graders planted cover crop, 3rd graders planted spinach and examined plant adaptations, 4th graders weeded, and Bridges students harvested tomatoes, while Kindergarteners and 5th graders helped steward compost.

Kindergarteners get an up close look at compost critters

Kindergarteners get an up close look at compost critters

In the garden, instructors emphasize personal safety and respect for all living things in our garden community and beyond! Students ask questions and observe answers. They experience caring for living things and working together. And they make sound connections to academic subjects through the Common Threads gardening curriculum, which is designed specifically to meet Next GenerationScience Standards.

Marit Olson, Common Threads Americorp Food Educator serving this year at Lowell Elementary feels proud to be a part of the Lowell community and the full circle of the food cycle. She loves it when Lowell students wave goodbye to “Ms Garden Teacher” and point out to their parents what they accomplished and tasted in the garden!

Lowell Bridges students

Bridges students examine a sunflower

Fifth graders preparing greens for compost

Fifth graders preparing greens for compost

Fourth graders prepare a bed for planting by spreading compost

Fourth graders prepare a bed for planting by spreading compost

Food Educator Marit Olson

Third graders learn to read seed packets from Food Educator Marit