Project Encourages Students to Grow Their Own Gardens
Bristol Public School students get their hands dirty while planting and caring for gardens created by the City of Bristol Public Works Department with the Help of Grant from Covanta.
In the spring of 2019, Public Works launched the Bristol Gardens a Work of Heart project. The mission is to encourage students to go outside and get their hands dirty by planting, caring for, and then harvesting gardens at each of the Bristol Public Schools. This promotes hands-on learning that complements the school curriculum. Students have the opportunity to bring the items grown in the gardens home to eat with their families.
The gardens are funded through a grant from Covanta, a recycling and waste recovery solutions business with a facility in Bristol CT. Each year the City of Bristol Public Works Department receives a grant for $21,000 to be used to fund public outreach activities to increase awareness and interest people in the environmental aspects of how the City handles recycling efforts.
The “Bristol Gardens – A Work of Heart” was the idea of Public Works Analyst, Lindsey Rivers, and Jason Morrocco with the goal of creating a garden in each of the Bristol schools. The grant funds also enabled Lindsey to purchase rain barrels and composting buckets to go with the gardens which are used to teach the students about sustainability and the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling. By using the rain collected in the barrels to water the plants in the garden and the composting buckets to discard the weeds and waste from the garden to then be used to nourish the plants and soil for the next season, students are learning how to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
“It is very important to teach our young children the importance of taking care of the earth. Our goal at Public Works is to have our children think: reduce, reuse, and recycle wherever possible,” stated Lindsey Rivers, Public Works Analyst.
To date, several gardens have been created at Bristol Schools including, Southside Elementary School, St. Joseph School, Stafford School, Greene Hills School, and Ivy Drive School. DPW also revamped greenhouses at Central High School and Northeast Middle School. Edgewood School, Eastern High School, Hubbell School, and Bristol Adult Education are scheduled to have their gardens built and planted in the summer of 2020.
In late 2019 Lindsey Rivers and Jason Morrocco with the Department of Public Works came up with a crowdfunding project to create outdoor classrooms in every Bristol Public School K-12. While working on various projects (organic cleaners, veggie garden prep & composting workshops) with the students, we experienced firsthand the limited space in the classrooms for hands-on learning. River & Morrocco thought “Wouldn’t it be great if we had a chalkboard out in the garden area to work out our ideas and problems?” The DPW team created an enclosed chalkboard that will work in every school from Pre-K through 12th grade. It is very important that City departments work together to make our students as successful as possible. Summer of 2020 the outdoor classroom chalkboards will be complete and installed for school in the fall.
To learn more about this project, Bristol Board of Education and/or contact:
City of Bristol, CT
Public Works Analyst