We are extremely proud of our garden space. How did the gardens come to be? It is a great example of an entire community working together to make a dream a reality and to create a dynamic learning space for students.
In 2006, Sope Creek partnered with Seeds of Nutrition and began to teach students about growing and cooking healthy, whole foods. Garden beds were located around the perimeter of the school and the need for additional space was soon realized. Through the years, bed spaces were increased, with Alternative Spring Break college students creating another gardening space. Teachers began to implement gardening programs and curriculum on their own. We were limited, though, because we had to confine our gardening curriculum to growing seasons.
The PTA's Environmental Education and Beautification Committee worked with Young Landscape Architechts of Atlanta (YLa Atlanta) to vision possibilities for a teaching garden with greenhouse. YLa visited the school, walked the grounds, and designed a Fruits and Vegetables Garden complete with Greenhouse! They provided a charrette (collaborative solution to a problem) and a design plan for Sope Creek. We appreciate their donation of time and talents, and this inkind gift valuing $7,500!!!!!
Please YLa Atlanta's Website to see pictures from their site visit and planning session!
Now that the design was complete, The Sope Creek Environmental Education & Beautification Committees began extensive work to raise funding, to find sponsors, and to involve the community.
We received a national grant from Lowe's ToolBox for Education. We were excited because this meant that we should be able to actually fund a greenhouse.
Next, Whole Foods contributed $2,000 toward the vegetable garden. They also volunteered their time and talents to prep the ground for our Butterfly Pollinator Garden. Thank you, Liz Towery, and crew for your help!
Scott's Miracle-Gro donated all of the dirt and additional supplies. This would be crucial for the success of the raised beds.
Keep Cobb Beautiful made a $1,000 donation toward the Butterfly Garden.
THANK YOU TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF OUR SPONSORS!
A group of managers from eleven area Lowe's stores came together under Gary Cook's leadership to provide additional funding, supplies, materials, and manpower to turn the vision of two teaching gardens into a reality. Over $9,000 worth of plants, materials, and equipment were donated by Lowe's stores, and over 50 employees worked to construct the gardens over the course of three days. The Lowe's Heroes braved heat, humidity, and torrential downpours to create two gardens. To see pictures of the gardens and the process, visit the Garden Photo Album.
In a secret nook in the school, we now have an amazing Butterfly Garden filled with pollinator plants, a raised bed for student planting, and an outdoor classroom. As soon as the plants were placed in the ground, butterflies found their way to them!
Where there once were trailers, now we have an amazing Fruits and Vegetables Garden. Along the perimeter outside the fence are fruit plants. Blueberries, raspberries, figs, and closer to the playground apple and pear trees. Each of the beds inside will house a different kind of vegetable garden that ties in with grade level curriculum. The greenhouse will allow us to extend the amount of time students can participate in real-world learning. Additionally, there are demonstration tables and planting tables at various heights to meet student needs. The outdoor classroom is ready to host a class and has a whiteboard for teacher and student use.
See how the gardens "grew" over the course of construction by watching the time lapse video below.
Thank you to all of our sponsors: Lowe's, Whole Foods, Keep Cobb Beautiful, Miracle-Gro, and Young Landscape Architechts of Atlanta.
A very special thank you to the visionaries who made this happen: Monica Anschel, Jason Evans, Leisa Holmes, and Anne Rood. Your impact on Sope Creek is tremendous and we appreciate you!