Gardeners, Teachers Talk School Gardens for Health and Education

Aug 21, 2014

Educators and gardeners from around the Northwoods gathered this week to talk about school gardens.  The conference happened at University of Stevens Point’s Natural Resources Education Center, Treehaven. 

Credit Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

For two days presenters shared tips on things like seed saving, mulching, and planning kid-friendly garden activities. 

Donelle Scaffidi organized the School Garden Symposium as part of her graduate work at UWSP.  She says it’s provided a chance to brainstorm solutions to common problems…like finding funding and how to manage school gardens over summer vacation. 

“I think there’s a great need for this type of networking to happen in the Northwoods where sometimes especially we have long winters, and we can feel a bit isolated in our rural communities.  Having everyone come together and form those ties, and also just learning about what other people are doing, to receive inspiration.”    

Sharing knowledge and resources is also the goal of the nonprofit-led Wisconsin School Garden Initiative.  Outreach Specialist Beth Hanna says in working to create a statewide network of school gardens, she’s seeing them become more and more popular.

“Because there’s so many benefits.  There’s the health part of school gardens, where organizations looking to support healthy students and obesity prevention are interested.  There’s academic benefits, so teachers are interested, administrators are really interested.”   

The School Garden Symposium drew teachers, master gardeners, and other community members from around the state and the Northwoods.