Community Garden greens school grounds
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Matthew C. Perry Elementary School is home to the station’s own Community Garden. Although the garden is on school grounds, it is open for any station resident to enjoy and work.
Brian Goering, Matthew C. Perry Elementary School 5th grade teacher, and his students entered the “How Do You Green Your School?” contest by Nickelodeon and the National Wildlife Federation. M.C. Perry's Community Garden was one of only 10 that won top recognition.
“I started the Community Garden because I had a passion for it and grew up with an agricultural mindset,” said Goering. “The Community Garden was started two and a half years ago. This piece of land was being wasted.”
The Community Garden is a multifunctional learning environment, teaching biology, science and that children can reap the fruits of their labor.
“We wanted to beautify the school and also use it as a living classroom,” said Goering. “We grow fruits, vegetables and flowers. We have produce sales with the produce to raise more money to expand the garden.”
The overall goals of the Community Garden are to move the garden to the front of the school, build a compost bin to make their own fertilizer, and get the community more involved.
“I started a parent organization, I asked the parents of the children in my homeroom class if they would help,” said Goering.“It becomes like a second job.”
Goering and his students are not the only ones currently helping out with the Community Garden, many teachers and their student also got involved.
“It makes my job easier and the kids learn more, said Goering.“They are super excited to come to school every day they always bring a new specimen in for me to look at.”
The garden has helped the children learn about the life cycle of a moth as well as many other facts involving history of agriculture, writing, reading and science.
The Community Garden also presents a volunteer opportunity for service members and station residents.
“The parents created a Facebook page and a Google group, where we can start getting more people into this kind of stuff,” said Goering.