LEON — A local elementary school will be busy building its new greenhouse tunnel this spring.
Recently, an informational seminar was held at Leon Elementary by Dr. Chuck Talbott from the Putnam County West Virginia University Extension Office and representatives from the Western Conservation Soil District for staff, parents, and board of education members concerning information about the greenhouse such as the installation of the greenhouse, the process on how to use the greenhouse, and tips on how to utilize it for the students’ education across the curriculum.
Principal Alesia Green shared she learned from Superintendent Jack Cullen that in Putnam County several schools had their own greenhouses for students to utilize for their studies as well as for their school meals and representatives from the Putnam County WVU Extension Office wanted to expand these greenhouses to both Mason County Schools and Jackson County Schools.
Green, as well as her staff, were interested in having a greenhouse at their school. Tate Hayman, science teacher, shared discussions began around last spring concerning the means and funding to obtain a greenhouse for the school.
A former Leon Elementary student who works for The Rockefeller Foundation aided the school with getting a $2,000 grant towards the greenhouse, then a sum of $500 came from a donation by Ohio Valley Physicians. In 2018, Hayman applied for a grant through the Robert and Louise Claflin Foundation and was awarded the $4,000 grant. The remainder of the cost will be covered by Dr. Talbott from the Putnam County WVU Extension Office and the Western Conservation Soil District shared Hayman.
Green shared the greenhouse was originally going to be located outside of Hayman’s classroom as that is where they have some raised beds; however, because of the estimated size for the greenhouse, it will be located further out from the building towards the playground.
When installation begins, students from the Mason County Career Center will be helping with the building. By next school year the students will be able to begin work in the greenhouse.
Green explained each class in the school will have their own portion of the greenhouse for growing which will have the students learning about the square footage of gardens and how many plants can grow in each square inch.
The students will be getting a hands-on learning experience they cannot get from their text books and will be able to learn lessons in the greenhouse across the curriculum said Green and Hayman.
Along with learning how to grow and produce their own food, the students will also be learning how to weigh their produce and figure the cost of the foods they grow from U.S. Foods, explained Green. They will also be selling their goods back to the school system to use for their own school lunches which is a part of the Farm to School program added Hayman.
Erin Perkins is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, extension 1992.