Five stories of successful school greenhouse projects
Most school greenhouses become cornerstones of larger outdoor gardening initiatives. Whether a parent, teacher, principal, or superintendent drives the process, however, all involved should consider carefully the scope and sustainability of a greenhouse project. Separating startup costs from ongoing costs is helpful; most successful greenhouse programs generate their own ongoing funds through plant sales or sustaining school or grant funds.
Community support is another element of successful greenhouse and gardening programs. Through donations of raw goods (such as lumber, pots, or seeds), volunteer effort and expertise, parental involvement, and financial donations and grants, greenhouses and gardens can sprout into patches of community pride. Sending food home with kids or to the cafeteria, selling or donating plants, and offering thriving indoor and outdoor habitats are powerful elements of community beautification, bonding, and transformation.
Because greenhouses are artificial environments where every factor is controlled, they are ideal for inquiry-based learning. Educators who find ways to collaborate successfully and take time to integrate greenhouse and garden work into the curriculum are likely to enjoy ongoing prosperity. Greenhouse and garden projects that offer innovative ways to meet required educational benchmarks are also more likely to be funded appropriately.
Through the following profiles, discover how other educators and parents have established and continue to operate successful greenhouse and garden programs. Each program is as unique as the individual or school driving the effort, the local climate and bioregion, and the projected educational goals. And take heart. If you choose to initiate a greenhouse and garden program in your school, the possibilities--as the following narratives demonstrate--tend to blossom as you go along.