Last year after building a big container garden at my daughter's charter school I got involved with a group called D.C. Schoolyard Greening. The organization, composed of several non-profit and government entities, is doing great things to promote gardens in D.C. schools as resources for learning, recreation and nutrition.
This year for the first time, Schoolyard Greening is sponsoring a week-long focus on gardening called School Garden Week. Modeled after a program in California (which gets millions of dollars in funding, by the way) this week of activities encourages teachers, students and parents to get outside and work in the soil. D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty has even issued a proclamation declaring the week of Oct. 15 - 20 as being devoted to school gardens.
The week kicks off Oct. 15 with a wetlands planting and garden tour at La Salle Elementary School. We're hoping the mayor will join several other city officials in attending.
On Oct. 16 there's a panel discussion on how to start and maintain a school garden. Several folks with long experience organizing gardens and community groups in the District of Columbia will be taking part.
On Oct. 18, Casey Trees is holding a "walk among trees" at Murch Elementary Schools. Casey Trees, which has worked with parent volunteers to plant dozens of trees on the Murch campus, is one of the prime movers behind D.C. Schoolyard Greening.
Oct. 19 has been designated "volunteer work day" at D.C. school gardens. We have dozens of volunteers looking for ways they can help with local gardens.
Then on Oct. 20, the fourth-annual bus tour of D.C. school gardens takes off, lunch included.
Also on Oct. 20, for the first time, there will be a "bike hop" of school gardens sponsored by the Women's Garden Cycle Project. I'm especially excited about this event because our garden at the Children's Studio School is one of the stops on the hop, and the women cyclists are just now on the homebound leg of an incredible tour of vegetable gardens and farms all the way to Montreal and back. (You can read about this marathon cycling adventure at their blog.)
Last but certainly not least of the garden week activities is a photo contest for all D.C. school children. Any child of school age, through high school, can enter favorite garden shots (no faces, please) and win a prize for herself and her teacher. I am working on this particular project with my garden partner at Children's Studio School, Elizabeth Wyrsch. So do by all means send us your garden photos. The deadline for entry is Oct. 1. You can go to the Schoolyard Greening website for complete details.
Oh, and we are scouting locations where we can display the winning photos if you have any suggestions.