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Creating an Outdoor Classroom for Elbow Creek Elementary School Garden

Elbow Creek 4-H | Tulare County Status: Completed Categories: Citizenship, Gardening and Landscaping Youth Leader: Bailey | Age: 12

Elbow Creek 4-H created an outdoor classroom for the local elementary school garden project. The local PTA raised funds to build and create a garden for Elbow Creek Elementary School in Visalia, CA. The funds they had were designated specifically for the garden itself, i.e. raised beds, compost, water systems, plants, etc. Elbow Creek Elementary School is located in the Northeast part of Visalia, California which is primarily a farming area. It is the goal of the PTA and the faculty of Elbow Creek School to create an environment that will be a teaching opportunity for the students of this country school to learn more about plant science, agriculture science and food science. Elbow Creek 4-H felt like this was a great and an important opportunity to help the school out with reaching their goal therefore; we decided to create a learning environment that would work with this garden project.

It’s our hope and dream that many of the students from this school and the local area will see this and want to be part of the 4-H club/community and they all will be welcomed with open arms.

How has 4-H helped?

We talked with the principal of the school and other faculty members and asked them what we could do to help them reach their goal in creating this learning environment. It was obvious from the first conversation to the last conversation we had with them what needed to be done. The garden itself had all the needed resources from the PTA, but what was missing was the classroom environment. So the 4-H committee that worked on this project got together and decided that we wanted to create the outdoor classroom with tables and shade. Initially, it was decided that we would have cement (permanent) tables placed on the school grounds so that they could be there for years to come, but we soon came to the realization that this would not work with the resources we had so we went back to the committee and discussed further what would work. The committee then formed a plan and designed the outdoor classroom with outdoor tables and built in benches that that were constructed with high density polyethylene plastic that has a lifetime guarantee on them. These tables also have an umbrella option. The tables can be folded and moved back and forth very easily which makes it nice for the faculty. In addition to the tables and umbrellas, the money was used to also purchase 4 shade trees that were planted to create additional shading for the classroom space.

The Impact

As you can imagine; the payoff is BIG and it will continue for many generations to come. This garden project at Elbow Creek Elementary school has been something that had been in the works for approximately 5 years. The local PTA was raising funds to make this happen and we are proud to say that the Elbow Creek 4-H club was able to help them reach this goal. The significance of this project is HUGE. The children/students of this elementary school will have the opportunity to learn so much more are about the growing of their foods, which includes the study of plant science, food science, etc.
Our local 4-H (Elbow Creek) always takes pride in doing whatever we can to make the community aware of 4-H and our efforts to make our community a better place to live. This outdoor classroom project is no different. By creating the environment that we created, it has opened the eyes to the faculty, students, parents and the local community the good that 4-H clubs can bring to such a small group of people.