SWEDESBORO — The Garden Club at Swedesboro-Woolwich School District (SWSD) bloomed this summer thanks to Gloucester County Teacher of the Year, Lynne Bussott, from the Governor Charles C. Stratton School.
The Garden Club at SWSD ran from June 29, 2021 through August 29, 2021, where students grew vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers alongside milkweed plants and other flowers, and learned about soil health.
In March of 2021, the garden began in Bussott’s second grade classroom where her students planted vegetable seeds. Watching the seeds turn into plants was very exciting for her students.
“Having the opportunity for my students to see the seeds that they planted grow into large plants was very motivating,” said Bussott. “They enjoyed coming to school and taking turns measuring growth, collecting the data, watering or transplanting in small groups.”
In May, it was time to transplant their plants to the community garden plot at the Woolwich Municipal Building. While school was in session, students came out on a weekend to design, rake, and plant their new garden. Students worked great together in groups and wore many hats such as rakers, weeders, planters, and waterers to prepare their garden.
The Garden Club officially began in June when school was out and continued through August. Twice a week students weeded, watered and harvested the garden.
They also cleaned, chopped and made salsa for the club. Students enjoyed painting kindness rocks and hid them as gifts of love among the other community gardens.
Throughout the club, students were able to observe ecosystem interdependence, plant and animal life cycles, work in the garden, take nature walks, monitor blue bird houses, record observations, and so much more.
“Getting students outside during the spring and summer to participate in a garden, work with diverse groups, build empathy for one another, develop leadership skills is what social emotional, character education and 21st career and readiness skills are all about,” said Bussott.
Each year, to foster equity and inclusion in Bussott’s ACES/ESL homeroom class, students participate in a year-long project that helps solve a problem or issue in the environment, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she had to think outside of the box.
“While tending to my ‘pandemic garden,’ I kept thinking how much fun it would be for my students to see this humongous tomato plant that was grown from a seed, or to eat something that they planted,” said Bussott. “I wanted to share that experience with students and their families.”
To help The Garden Club to continue to grow, please consider donating much needed funds for fencing and new garden tools. The project can be found here: https://donate.seedmoney.org/5822/swedesboro-woolwich-kids-summer-garden
The Garden Club will continue this summer. For more information, or to join the Garden Club, please contact Lynne Bussott at firstname.lastname@example.org.