Hands-On Learning

Concord Elementary School gardens help promote environmental and community awareness.
Concord Elementary students learn science and life lessons through gardening.

The Concord Elementary School garden adds sustainability, community growth, and environmental awareness to the school’s science curriculum.

Fifth-grade teacher Chris Tower saw a need for hands-on learning to enhance his science lessons. With the help of Eagle Scout Brian Wandrie and parent volunteers, he built 11 exploratory garden plots, three of which are handicap-accessible.

“We started growing things in the classroom—measuring, monitoring, soil testing. The science behind it really motivated me [to build the gardens], but then the project rolled into different avenues.”

Service learning is an essential component of the endeavor. The bulk of ripe produce, including tomatoes, green beans, peppers, onions, squash, pumpkins, herbs, lettuces, and cucumbers, are donated to a local food shelf. And when growing season is over, students and teachers work side by side selling the leftovers at an August plant sale and veggie market. Profits help sustain the garden. “It’s kind of a gift that keeps on giving,” says Tower.