Chesnut Charter Elementary School has recently been selected for a Captain Planet Foundation’s Project Learning Garden grant. Captain Planet Foundation is an international environmental education foundation for youth inspired by the successful Captain Planet and the Planeteers cartoon.
The three-year Project Learning Garden program provides schools with strategies for building effective and long-lasting garden-based learning programs. Teachers at pilot schools are provided with professional development for every grade level, interdisciplinary curriculum aligned to state and national standards, lesson kits with the necessary supplies for hands-on learning, a schoolyard garden, fully-equipped mobile cooking cart, and a summer garden management intern.
“We wish Chesnut great success as they work to implement this important program. It is our hope that our combined efforts will educate and empower today’s youth with the skills and knowledge to cultivate a better tomorrow,” says Leesa Carter, Executive Director of the Foundation.
Gardens can provide a context for multidisciplinary learning, ranging from nutrition and science to social studies, math and language arts. Students benefit by expanding their palates, taste-testing healthy foods, and learning about food origins; engaging in authentic science field investigations; manipulating the environment to understand math in real-life applications; recreating historical activities; and writing across all these disciplines.
“Chesnut’s school master gardeners, facilities team, ecology club and recycling team have put a lot of sweat equity into building our farm to school and ecology programs. Two years ago, when the majority of our kindergarten class registered for ecology club, we chose to instead integrate monthly farm to school lessons into the kindergarteners’ school-day. Project Learning Garden is the natural next step for Chesnut, and I am grateful to Captain Planet Foundation for supplying our teachers with the necessary resources to incorporate farm to school and ecology concepts into our curriculum school-wide,” explains Chesnut’s principal, Ms. Veronica Williams. “As we develop our STEM initiatives, which focus on environmental stewardship, Captain Planet Foundation is the ideal partner for us, helping us bring curriculum to life in an experiential and hands-on manner.”
As a Project Learning Garden school, Chesnut will provide the following to its students:
-At least one Learning Garden lesson per grade level in Year 1, and three lessons per grade level in Year 2.
-Learning Garden lessons taught in an outdoor setting, engaging students in hands-on activities and environmental stewardship.
-At least two harvest or food preparation and healthy taste-testing activities per year.
As part of the program, Chesnut will receive the following:
-Garden installation or revitalization, depending on need.
-Three interdisciplinary garden lessons tied to Georgia Performance Standards for each grade level, including kits with supplies for hands-on lessons.
-Professional development workshops.
-Fully-equipped mobile kitchen cart for taste-testing foods from the garden or math & science lessons in the classroom.
-Outdoor Classroom Kit, with basic supplies (like a wagon, cones, magnifying glasses, etc.) for outdoor learning.
-Assistance with summer garden management.
-Colorful, interpretive garden signs.
-The opportunity to qualify for a $500 garden enhancement grant, upon completion of lesson feedback surveys, tasting event surveys, and student pre / post-tests (Year 2)
-The opportunity to qualify for a $500 garden enhancement grant, upon completion of the Interactive Sustainability Tool Kit to help third year Learning Garden schools transition to independence while maintaining a record of garden assets and resources (Year 3).
About Chesnut Charter Elementary School
Chesnut Charter was established in 1968 to meet the needs of the Peachtree/Dunwoody community. In the 2000-2001 school year, Chesnut began operating as a Charter School committed to educating the whole child – developing young people who are enthusiastic, knowledgeable, well rounded, physically active, and thoughtful. Chesnut strives for it students to become honorable and contributing citizens, who are internally motivated to achieve their highest potential.
About The Captain Planet Foundation
Founded in 1991, Captain Planet Foundation was created to support hands-on, environmental projects for youth. CPF’s objective is to encourage innovative projects that empower today’s children to become environmental stewards. The Captain Planet Foundation (CPF) is located at 133 Luckie Street NW in Atlanta, Georgia. It can be reached by phone at (404) 522-4270.