120 First Graders plant seedlings for their community.
Taking advantage of recent a rare sunny day, six first grade classes from Coffin Elementary School set off on foot for Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust’s Tom Settlemire Community Garden (TSCG). Their goal was to transplant approximately 240 squash, pumpkin, sunflower and nasturtium plants that they had seeded earlier in the spring. With this goal in mind, along with the opportunity for outdoor, experiential learning, they dug into this task with gusto.
TSCG is located on Crystal Spring Farm, a property owned and managed by the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust. Through the Garden, the Land Trust strives to provide intergenerational gardening opportunities, increase the availability of locally grown food for area food pantries, and offer experiential gardening opportunities for the community.
With the help of a dedicated crew of volunteers, the young students transplanted all of their seedlings into the Garden. The squash harvest will be donated to Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program, while the pumpkins and sunflowers will be harvested for further study by Coffin Students in the fall.
Staff from the Land Trust, Nikkilee (Lee) Cataldo and Caroline Elliot, were on hand to give tours of the Garden, including the composting and solar powered watering facilities that are on site. “We love having kids in the Garden!” said Cataldo. “It is import to our mission as a land trust to have young folks get their hands dirty doing something good for the community, and to just enjoy the natural beauty of this amazing community asset.”
As this school year nears its end, students were able to stay engaged in their learning while participating in a service project for their community. First graders have spent time this spring learning about plant life cycles, plant parts, and growing requirements. Coffin teachers appreciated the opportunity for their students to experience the next phase in the gardening process by transplanting the plants they had grown in the classroom. Most students enjoyed digging in the dirt and finding earthworms, but eating watermelon was a unanimous success. First grader Sylus Pillsbury beamed as he said, “This is really fun!”