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Gardening program at Moton aims to educate students about plants, beautify school grounds

BROOKSVILLE

Using their little fingers, Moton Elementary School kindergarteners poked four o'clock seeds into cups of soil.

They worked under the watchful eyes of Master Gardeners and Brooksville Garden Club members Sherry Pedonesi and Wynn Miller, assisted by garden club member Beverly Lewis.

"The Brooksville Garden Club contacted us to start a five-year program with kindergarten," said teacher Adriann Stewart.

The idea is that the students will do a great deal of improvement work on the school grounds by the time they finish fifth grade. They also gain awareness that food and flowers come from the ground.

"It's a mentoring program, too," said Caroline Struthers, representing the Retired Senior Volunteer Program. The local garden club is one of its agencies.

Seven kindergarten classes, just under 90 students, are participating in the project, learning about erosion, propagation, planting, good bugs and destructive bugs.

"It's going to beautify the front of the school and teach them to care for something, to take a personal involvement in something and watch it prosper," Stewart said.

She hopes to add vegetables as the program progresses.

Miller has experienced how the joy of gardening is taking root in the children. He remembered standing in front of the school one day when a kindergartener insisted on introducing him to his father. The parent said all his son talks about is gardening.

Abby Heller, 6, is one of those students energized about gardening.

"I like to help plants feed themselves," she said. "I like to give plants water, and when they grow that makes me all excited."

Mason Sermons, 5, said his favorite part of gardening is "when I put the seed in, because that's the time that you can see the color of the seed. I also like looking at it grow."

For the most part, the children are planting Florida-friendly species, with a few annuals mixed in for color. Part of the front garden is mulched and planted with purple nights, blue days, coral honeysuckle, crinum lily and wax begonias, among others.

Pedonesi goes to Moton four times a month to check in on the kindergarten classrooms.

She got involved in the program, she said, because "I love flowers and gardens, and this will be our next generation."

Lewis feels similarly. She said she participates "to inspire (the students) to enjoy gardening. It's very educational for them, I think."

Gardening program at Moton aims to educate students about plants, beautify school grounds 01/22/14 [Last modified: Thursday, January 23, 2014 5:19pm]
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