Fairview Elementary School

Check out the program on Monarch butterfly tagging!

Wanda DeWaard, Sandy Vandenberg, and Sandra Stricklin presented a program on Monarch butterflies to three classes of 3rd graders at Fairview Elementary. Four stations were set up -- milkweed, caterpillars, chrysalis, and butterflies. Each class was divided into four groups to visit stations manned by a Master Gardeners and a teacher. Two Monarch butterflies emerged from their chrysalises during the demonstrations and each class got to tag a Monarch and set it free.  Click HERE to see photos of the Monarch Tagging Program, then click on the first picture in the series to see the slideshow.

The Project at Fairview School was started in 2004 by Mountain Laurel Garden Club.  With several club members in the first Blount County Master Gardener class, the project was approved as a Master Gardener project.  Our goal with this project is to get the students outdoors, gardening and enjoying nature.  This is an ongoing project involving grades K-5.

In 2006 the school grounds were certified by the National Wildlife Foundation as a schoolyard habitat.  We have involved parents, teachers and scouts in our projects.  Eagle Scout projects have included pond construction, raised beds, and fencing. Kindergarteners have planted flowers and vegetables  each year.  We have a secret garden with native plants donated by Master Gardener Nancy Robinson.  In this garden plants are labeled and pavers provide a seating area.  There is a large fish pond and a small frog pond outside the library and a meadow area outside the pond fence.  We have a large raised planter bed by front door that is filled with ferns and flowers. Additionally, we have purchased tools for students to use and recently installed a storage shed to keep them in.

We have a variety of projects, some on-going and others addressing special situations.  Annually, in the fall each student has planted a daffodil bulb on the front bank.  A planting bed was added around the front sign and the 5th grade plants pansies in the fall and marigolds in the spring. In 2011, each grade planted a tree and the5th grade painted pavers to identify tree species.  The school erected a fence to block a view of recycling bins from neighbors; and Master Gardeners,  with the help of parents, teachers and students, created a bed of shrubs and flowers in front of fence.  We hold garden workdays with parents and students.

Earth Day celebrations have included a “Lights Out Lunch” in the cafeteria, displays for recycle day and presentations to each class. Monies for the garden projects are donated by Mountain Laurel Garden Club and raised by 5th grade at their annual Market Day.  Blount County Master Gardeners sell plants donated from the spring plant sale at the Market  Day.

Master Gardeners have participated in Fairview Field Day with a 30 minute program for each grade.  Programs have included naturalist Marcella Cranford bringing her screech owl and presenting a program on owls and bats in the garden.  Master gardeners gave a program on daffodils, butterflies and tadpoles.  Marcella has also presented a program with an owl and a snake. Botanist, Dave Nestor presented a program with his carnivorous plants.

Another recent project is the construction of an outdoor classroom.  The Saturday before Christmas 2016, on a rainy cold dreary day, Fairview Eagle Scouts and parents planted trees and shrubs for the outdoor classroom with the help of a $200 donation from the BCMG to purchase plant materials.  Angie Caldwell and Sandy Vandenberg supervised the planting.  Over $700 has gone into this project, including funds raised by the Scouts along with donations of materials from the community.  Students and teachers have already been using this area, which will grow to a lovely shaded setting in maturity.  For more pictures of the planting project, click HERE.

Future plans for the outdoor classroom include purchasing more rock to have a deeper layer in the classroom area, and finding an Eagle Scout to restore the meadow area after this summer’s drought.  Due to weather and smoky conditions, daffodil planting was postponed in the fall but is planned for early winter.

We look forward to facilitating additional programs with the students.  This is an important project, as these students are our future gardeners.

For more information, contact Sandy Vandenberg via email:  info@blountcountytnmastergardeners.org

Blount County Extension Master Gardeners

email: info@blountcountytnmastergardeners.org

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