Martha Luna, Lakeshore’s Gardening consultant for grades K, 1, and Special Day Classes and Naturalist at Camp Mather, shares how the Gardening program came about.
I met and began gardening with Jean Butler while our children were in Kindergarten class together. Now our children are in 11th grade. Jean was trying to reestablish an abandoned garden where the Learning Garden is currently located, below the Kinder yard. Previously, a group of Lakeshore teachers had tried to replicate a successful garden program at Rooftop School. They received a grant and built a small garden.
When Jean and I came on the scene, the original idea for this Lakeshore garden had been long abandoned. The soil was like concrete and at best only the weeds were brave enough to grow. The original idea by the teaching staff was to have the rectangular garden beds split 50/50, designated to classrooms who would maintain their garden spot. However, without knowledge of what can grow and how, not to mention a regular watering schedule, the garden failed. They simply did not have the time and knowledge to do maintenance.
As my class came through the garden, Lowell’s Environmental Science instructor (not from Special Ed) had her class in the garden at the same time. To emphasize a lesson we’d been learning at Lakeshore, I mentioned to the instructor, “Environmental” sounds like a Latin word and the instructor eagerly replied “Yes! ‘Environment’ is the meaning of everything, and ‘science’ is to study; therefore, it is the ‘study of everything.’ ” I knew everything we were learning and doing was on track at Lakeshore.
Now we study everything: our environment, with plants, bugs, and weather.