By CHRISTINA RITCHIE ROGERS
The fourth-graders at Cornelius Elementary are glad it rained last night – the softer ground makes weed pulling easier.
Pulling weeds and clearing roots from the land at the side of the school building are just the first steps in making what the students hope will be a large, verdant, edible garden. All five fourth-grade classes are working together on the garden as part of their literacy unit, “Nature’s Delicate Balance,” in which they learn about life cycles, sustainability, the transfer of energy and man’s role in keeping nature balanced.
“The big idea we want the children to understand is that their role in this is of the utmost importance,” fourth-grade teacher Pat Amato said.
In addition to being good stewards of the environment, the students are learning about being good members of the community. Their plan is to grow cabbage, spinach, broccoli and other vegetables nd deliver them to a local food bank, Ms. Amato said. If everything goes well, the plants should be ready for harvest and delivery before the children leave for summer vacation, she said.
“It feels good because I’m helping others and helping the Earth too,” fourth-grader Carrington Wise-Smith said.
North Carolina State University awarded the school a $200 grant to buy the mulch, fertilizer and plants for the garden. The rest is up to the students, who spent Thursday morning pulling, raking and shoveling.
“Gardening is really easy for me,” fourth-grader Kadajah Williamson said. “My grandmother loves gardening and she taught me how to garden when I was growing up.” Kadajah likes the idea that some of the food might go to feed elderly people, she said.
Fourth-grader Rider Davison is excited for the project because he gets to work with his classmates to help the community. “Homeless people don’t have any food, and we can plant the food they need,” he said.