North Ridge Elementary students are discovering new passions outside the norms of an elementary classroom. Bridgett Turner, North Ridge media specialist, wrote a teacher grant to the Frenship Foundation for Leadership and was awarded with the funds to purchase aeroponic vertical gardens.

These towers are an amazing opportunity for the students at North Ridge to learn about gardening, water conservation, sustainability, health and wellness. Tuner wanted her students to have a more hands-on learning experience stating, “seeing something in a book and seeing something on a video is nothing like it is in-person.”

The second graders act as the ‘farmers’ of the gardens, and the towers on display in the library. “It allows every student to see a little bit about it and ask questions and be really curious and then learn from it as well,” said Turner.

The students planted the seeds on November 19th and started taking turns cleaning the towers, refilling them with water, adding nutrients, clipping and eventually harvesting. The herbs and veggies currently being grown are bibb lettuce, kale, rainbow chard, celery, dill, and basil. After only eight weeks of growing, they were able to harvest three heads of lettuce and are preparing to harvest more soon.

Growing these tower gardens in the library is a unique experience for the students that they can then compare with traditional gardening they will learn in the spring.

It is with the help of the Frenship Foundation that the students at North Ridge Elementary can discover their green thumbs and experience the joys and rewards of gardening. The support of the Foundation through teacher grants, such as this one, continues to promote creative learning in the classrooms.