Edmond students grow crops, cultivate imagination in school garden

St. Mary's Episcopal Elementary School students in Edmond are in the gardening business. Work by students in the Beyond the Classroom program is under way for the spring growing season.
by Diana Baldwin Published: March 12, 2013

A banner showing they have been honored hangs in the garden.

The program earlier was nominated for environmental excellence by Keep Oklahoma Beautiful.

Tricia Brown, a science teacher, donated seed to be planted in this season's garden.

One garden will have spearmint to help attract moths and butterflies. A second garden will feature vegetables needed in a salad. Another will have peas and beans.

This year, students are making a rain garden in a damp corner of the garden area. They will plant native grasses there, Mackiewicz said.

“We grow our gardens and protect our wild area at the school to help the planet,” Mackiewicz said. “The kids recycle, compost their waste and take responsibility for their equipment.”

Imagination grows

Mackiewicz has been director of the Beyond the Classroom after-school program for four years. She calls her job rewarding.

“Being a naturalist, the kids get exposed daily to little things like noticing spring migration patterns going on right now,” she said. “Recently, we saw flocks of snow geese. Three vultures flew overhead, and they knew what they were.

“The field sparrows are singing, and we are searching for their secretive nests hidden on the ground in the brambles, and we had a ring-necked duck on the pond.”

Mackiewicz encourages her students to use their imaginations and not rely on technology to have fun.

“When I first started four years ago, it was almost comical because some did not have the faintest idea what I meant by using your imagination, because they use things given to them to play with.” Mackiewicz said.

“Now, they can go into the fields and collect rocks and set up a shop where others come to barter with their wares, like rocks of different textures and sizes.”

by Diana Baldwin
Sr. Reporter
Diana Baldwin has been an Oklahoma journalist since 1976 and came to The Oklahoman in 1991. She covered the Oklahoma City bombing and covered the downfall of Oklahoma City police forensic chemist Joyce Gilchrist misidentifying evidence. She wrote...
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