Members of the Sustainability Alliance of Arizona founded a Gardens for Humanity program in schools around the Verde Valley. This year long program, Exploring Ecosystems Through Gardens and Art, works with five schools in the area to offer art and environmental education through gardening and art classes. Twice a week, the group meets to work with garden teachers and artists.
The garden teachers work with the students one day teaching them about nature through gardening. The students learn how to plant, water, and care for the garden where they learn hands on about the environment. Then the artists work with the students another day teaching them about the environment through art. They investigate insects, learn about the water cycle, or the life of a tree and work to express this process through different forms of art.
When learning about the water cycle the students used poetry to describe it, when learning about insects the teachers offer songs with the lesson, and for the life of a tree they created collages using parts of the tree bark, leaves, and seeds while reading stories about trees.
The program works to present scientific information to children where they can express themselves through art and learn the knowledge. The group also offers nutritional information when working in the garden and art realm. When learning the principles of colors they use fruits and vegetables to build the color wheels and learn about good nutrition and the best ways to eat all your colors.
What was the impact?
So far over 100 students have participated in the program with about 20 students in each club at all five schools. The group is also working towards offering an exhibition of the students work to pass on their knowledge of the environment as well as their art.
The Arizona Rural Activation and Innovation Network (RAIN) is funded by the National Science Foundation to oversee grant funding for informal STEM education projects in four rural Arizona communities: Cochise County, Graham and Greenlee County, the Verde Valley, and the Navapache/White Mountains region. RAIN acts as a resource for best practices in informal STEM program development and works to highlight effective STEM programs, employers and organizations across the state of Arizona. Interested in applying for a grant? Visit our website today and learn more about the opportunities in your community.