The Lakeridge Garden supports the school district’s 20/20 Vision by providing hands-on learning opportunities to enrich your child’s curriculum. Lakeridge proudly boasts a thriving garden with 17 raised beds.
Day: Fridays (starting Friday, Sept. 22nd) Runs 7-8 weeks, depending on weather.
Time: 3:45 pm – 5:00 pm
NOTE – Garden Club will meet rain or shine!
Cost: $50 per student and covers the costs of plants, supplies and snacks for all students provided before garden club begins each week.
Sign Up: Open to a maximum of 15 students in Grades 3-5. Please complete the Parent Permission Form and return to the Lakeridge front office. If more than 15 students enroll, we will run a lottery to assign students to the available spaces.
If you are interested in volunteering, please email Nancy Weil, email@example.com
The Garden Club is a unique opportunity for children to get their hands dirty tending to the soil, planting vegetables, caring for and weeding them and eventually harvesting them to cook and eat! We explore how kids see food differently when they grow it themselves while learning how unpredictable, weather dependent and delicate gardening is every day. Sustainability is a large part of the education in the garden club. We learn about the impact that transporting food from one part of the planet to another has on our environment. We discuss the importance of supporting local farmers. We dissect and discuss the difference between a fast food french fry and one we make ourselves in the classroom or what the difference is between a vine-ripened tomato and one that ripened while being transported on a truck. Our school garden has endless herbs, around 60 vegetables and fruits – all grown and maintained by students.
Garden Club will meet rain or shine so please send your child with weather appropriate clothes and shoes.
Contact info: Nancy Weil, Lakeridge PTA Green Team Director
The Long, Rich History of The Lakeridge Learning Garden
Without the help of incredible parents, the garden as we know it would not exist. We are one of the few schools in our area that can proudly boast such a huge, lush and prosperous garden. Here is our learning garden’s history:
The Lakeridge Learning Garden in its current form started in 2009. It was inspired by the garden in the northwest corner of the Lakeridge campus that was itself the creation of some tireless Lakeridge volunteers: Michelle Lambe, who continued to give freely of her time long after her children had graduated from Mercer Island’s schools, Gordon Paulson, a local master gardner who can be seen most weekends at the MI Farmer’s Market, and Andrea Pirzo-Birolli.
Then, Sarah Smith, Liz Evans and Maryellen Johnson embraced Michelle’s concept and wanted to expand it to something that every child at Lakeridge would benefit from. They partnered with Lakeridge principal, Fred Rundle, and recruited parents and volunteers with specific areas of expertise, including Kaarina AuFranc and Justin Davis. Off-Island schools with recognized gardening programs were toured. Grants were applied for. Garden designs were developed and approved and the Lakeridge Learning Garden was built in the central courtyard to ensure adequate light and easy access to water. Organized volunteer work parties, composed Lakeridge families both young and old, constructed a total of 19 beds.
Teachers advised parent volunteers which of their classroom curricula were suited to hands-on application in the garden. With this direction, Liz, Maryellen and Sarah and other Lakeridge parents enthusiastically designed and presented garden curriculum and “lab” units applying classroom lessons:
First graders learned to plant a garden to sustain the life cycle of a butterfly.
Second graders tested the theories of organisms.
Third graders explored the components of soil.
Fourth graders built three “Sister Gardens” to complement their Native American unit in class.
Fifth graders grew vegetables studied in their nutrition unit.
Each year since its inception, the Learning Garden has been sustained with generous support from the PTA and the volunteer efforts of many in our community. Along the way, a garden shed and worm bins and have been added. Eagle Scouts built an arbor to designate a grand entrance as well as benches for students to enjoy and a bat box to study.
The Lakeridge Learning Garden has now successfully transitioned to an afternoon garden club for students with support from a new cohort of parent volunteers under the dedicated stewardship of Nancy Weil. It is thrilling to see the gift of an earlier generation embraced by today’s students, educators and parents as the teaching asset it was intended to be. The Lakeridge learning gardens offer a complete and affirming example of a project conceived to be shared with future generations succeeding in its mission.
Q&A from Nancy Weil