GRE gardens offer students outdoor science
Muddy clothes and green thumbs could be seen on numerous Glenwood Ridge Elementary School students April 22 as they planted the first of seven outdoor gardens at the school.
The planting is a part of Earth Day and was coordinated through GRE's Outdoor Wildlife Learning Site (OWLS) program.
Five of the seven gardens will be finished this year, and two more will be planted next fall.
This year's gardens include a songbird garden, spirit garden and sunflower patch.
Several birdhouses are also located in front of the school, as part of the OWLS program.
OWLS coordinator Belinda Kraemer said each GRE class would be responsible for care of a garden throughout the school year.
"They're learning how different gardens and different plants attract wildlife," Kraemer said.
"It's an extension of the classroom," she added.
GRE Principal Tom Sack also said the program is beneficial to students.
"The focus is on education but the greater focus is on the outdoor wildlife," Sack said. "It will teach them responsibility on how to take care of a garden throughout the year."
The gardens are funded through the OWLS program, a Parents as Teachers Organization (PTO) donation and donations from the GRE student council.
Six weeks ago, more than 260 varieties of plants and flowers were planted by GRE students and then cared for by Basehor-Linwood High School students.
On Monday, GRE students put the shrubbery into the ground.
GRE fourth-graders Elissa Manford and Cassandra Bever said they enjoyed helping with the gardens.
"It will help our environment at school and it will make our school a little nicer," Manford said.
"It can attract animals to it and they'll make our school look nicer," Bever said.
While the gardens will add a certain aesthetic quality to the school, it also offers students educational opportunities, Sack said.
"The main focus is so that kids have a chance to see plants and experience chance to see plants and experience wildlife firsthand," Sack said.
It also extends the school's science curriculum by giving the students hands on experience in dealing with the plants, he said.
Although the gardens appear to be in good hands right now, Kraemer said the OWLS program is looking for families to adopt the gardens during the summer.
"We're going to need lots of families to help us maintain them," Kraemer said.
Anyone interested in adopting the gardens at Glenwood Ridge Elementary School may contact Kraemer at (913) 441-2897 for more information.