“Today, we are going to learn how to plant a seedling,” said Janet Forbes, Project Coordinator for Chautauqua County Health Network, to a group of Washington Middle School 5th graders. “Who knows what kind of plant this is? It’s a tomato plant. What do we need to do to make sure it grows healthy and tall?”
“Plant it in the soil and make sure it gets water and sunlight,” said one student.
“That’s correct. Let’s dig in and plant.”
Mrs. Forbes along with Kerry Mihalko, Creating Healthy Places’ (CHP) Healthy Food Consultant, recently visited Washington Middle School to award $500 to help with their community garden. They also set-up six stations: Guessing Plants, Kinds of Seeds, Importance of Water, Planting a Seedling, Tasting Vegetables and Crossword Puzzle to teach the students more about healthy eating.
“The Washington Community Garden has been in existence for three years,” said teacher Andy Scalise. “Students use the garden for many different activities from scattering plots for math, starting seedlings in science and researching on the types of vegetables grow best in our climate. The experience has been invaluable. Many students did not know that potatoes grew under the soil. The CHP demonstration day was wonderful. Students were engaged in different activities that covered areas such as learning how to water plants, differentiating between weeds and plants and learning about how to read about seeds and planting. Home Depot also donated all the material to build a new shed. We greatly appreciate both donations to our community garden.”
Creating Health Healthy Places to Live, Work, and Play is a project funded by the New York State Department of Health. The Chautauqua County Health Network was awarded a 4 1/2 year grant in the fall of 2010 to administer CHP. CHP is creating policy, systems and environmental changes in the community to increase access to healthy foods and opportunities for physical activity.