By bringing together over 200 fifth graders, one teacher, numerous worms and many volunteers, students at the J. Hampton Moore Elementary School in Northeast Philadelphia celebrated Earth Day on its 40th Anniversary, April 22, 2010. Students started the day by moving soil into three wooden garden beds built by volunteers the day before. Employing assembly lines, students filled the beds in the front school yard, preparing them for the following classes. Vegetable, herb and butterfly gardens were planted by the next set of classes. In addition, a pumpkin patch was made using excess soil and rocks.
Volunteers from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Weaver’s Way Cooperative Community Programs, Whole Foods and Educational Advancement Alliance, were brought together by EcoExpress for a true community event. The EPA and EcoExpress not only supplied labor, but also funding for supplies.
Weaver’s Way Community Programs assisted with garden design and implementation. Adam and John from Weaver’s Way were excellent instructors with more than one child asking them, “How do I become a botanist?”
Moore fifth grade science teacher, Meryl Hockstein, besides providing the energetic students, also contributed her own worm composting box. She taught the children why it is important to compost, and had them remove the worms from the compost to fertilize the various beds. Separating worms from compost started as a “yucky” task for some, but ended up as a fun learning event for many.
Whole Foods Market of Jenkintown generously provided snacks for the kids and volunteers, and their donation of a rain water barrel to the project will be put to good use.
The fun event met its objective of bringing together different community groups to help students develop a project that both beautifies and educates. The students will continue to learn about the living ecosystems that exist within soil, plant lifecycles and maintaining healthy gardens. The project decorated the school grounds, while providing a place for students to experience hands-on science, ecology and methods for sustainable living. And they also learned that dirt is what is left on your hands after you work with soil!
For more information, visit the EcoExpress>>