Lifelong Learning from the Garden to the Classroom

By: Lori Walton, Senior Communications Specialist
From FedEx Blog

Imagine a garden sprouting with broccoli, spinach, carrots, radishes, and beets that can be harvested and shared with students in a creative classroom learning environment…That became a reality for students at Hutchinson Elementary School in Atlanta, GA with the help of FedEx volunteers and Captain Planet Foundation (CPF) that has funded over 750 school or community gardens, outdoor learning labs, and pollinator gardens. CPF is a grant-making foundation that has distributed more than $2.5 million to over 1,800 hands-on environmental education projects with schools and youth-serving non-profits in all 50 U.S. states and 23 countries. More than 1 million children have directly participated in and benefited from these educational projects.

At Hutchinson Elementary School, the goal of the project was to encourage hands-on environmental stewardship that will benefit the school and community for many years to come.  FedEx volunteers constructed garden beds with treated cedar that will lasts 10 years, weeded the pollinator beds and made circle plant beds using red and charcoal bricks, which they constructed in record time under 30 minutes. Also, the volunteers had an opportunity to help a small group of students plant various winter vegetable seeds in the garden that will grow throughout the winter and will be incorporated into the school’s nutrition plans in a fun creative cooking classroom environment.

Many of these students may not have access to green space at their homes or knowledge about how to grow fruits and vegetables.  Jason Moore, a third-grade teacher at Hutchinson Elementary School, envisions the garden being, “a wonderful green space for kids that will provide lifelong learning lessons for them into adulthood.” As a teacher who’s personally passionate about gardening, Moore is one of the teachers who has attended the Captain Planet Foundation workshops to learn how to facilitate math, science, and other related subject lessons that can be taught in the Learning Garden. Additionally, the school will receive a mobile kitchen cart to harvest and cook the vegetables in a fun learning environment for the students.  This is all part of the three-year grant that CPF provides to schools to reinforce sustainability best practices and ways to engage students in the outdoors, through the context of a Learning Garden.

As part of FedEx’s commitment to the local communities where its team members live and work, the Learning Garden is just one of the ways team members give back year-round through volunteerism, charitable support and collaboration with local organizations and causes. Locally, FedEx also recently helped to redesign the school library at Hutchinson Elementary School with the help of Heart of America in support of FedEx Cares Week.  Last year, nearly 50,000 volunteer hours were logged at over 500 non-profit agencies worldwide in support of local community projects, as part of FedEx Cares Week.