Northview Promotes Hands-on Experience with Gardening
by Alexa Hodes
The Northview Learning Garden gives children a hands-on experience with nature. Although schoolyard gardens are not new, they are not commonplace throughout Kansas. The Learning Garden at Northview Elementary School is more than a place to grow plants and vegetables. The 'outdoor classroom' allows teachers to lead their K-6 curriculum outside, conducting art projects and science lessons. With native plants and stones of the Flint Hills eco-region, students will gain knowledge and be grateful for a 'sense of place' in the Flint Hills.
"My goal, as the designer, is to assist the school and community stakeholders to create a garden that answers the needs of a Manhattan elementary school," says project coordinator, Katie Kingery-Page, assistant professor of landscape architecture/regional and community planning, "I share their goal of creating a place of beauty that will raise kids' awareness of and connection to nature."
The primary partners for the learning garden are Northview Elementary School's principal Shelley Aistrup, 3rd grade teacher Ron Donoho, PTO HodesLandscape chairman Dan McGee, UFM director Linda Teener, and Kansas State University.
"K-State's involvement has occurred over several years and in many different ways. The Department of Landscape Architecture/Regional and Community Planning has led design and implementation of the garden. The Center for Engagement and Community Development has provided needed financial support for implementation and maintenance. The Department of Horticulture and Forestry and Recreation Resources and K-State Research and Extension assisted the school in early planning of the garden and continue to be a resource," says Kingery-Page. Many others have also helped support the Northview Learning Garden as well.
The Northview schoolyard has been a popular place for community members to take a stroll. This open space is often used every day of the week. Kingery-Page said, "I hope it will be a source of pride...I hope it will become another destination on strolls through the Northview park and school grounds."