Millbridge Elementary dedicates garden

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 7, 2011

By Sarah Campbell
CHINA GROVE — Students at Millbridge Elementary School don’t have to travel far to test out their green thumbs.
The school began planting a Discovery Garden in its front yard in 2009 with a $60,000 Fit Community grant through the N.C Health and Wellness program.
Community leaders and students gathered Monday to dedicate the garden, which provides opportunities for kids to learn about growing, tasting and preparing healthy foods.
“It’s an outdoor classroom that allows students to think outside the box with excitement and creativity on a daily basis,” said Dr. Angela Lingle-Linder, the school’s assistant principal.
Darrell Blackwelder, director of the Rowan County Cooperative Extension, said the garden includes everything from cotton to sweet potatoes to muscadine grapes. There is also a section for insects and butterflies.
“We are trying to get students outside to learn about growing things and nature,” he said, “and also to get them to explore and grow their curriculum.”
With the help of Blackwelder and some Rowan County Master Gardeners, students at the school got their hands dirty planting the garden.
“This garden will be here for many more years for many students in Rowan County to grow and enjoy,” Blackwelder said.
Fifth-graders Paige Sloop and Grace Fisher said they enjoyed the opportunity to work on the garden.
“We planted tomatoes and squash and got to water everything,” Sloop said.
Lingle-Linder said the students are also being taught how to eat nutritiously.
Principal David Miller said the garden couldn’t thrive without the support it’s received.
“Thanks to all the community partners for working on the garden,” he said.
Miller presented the fifth-grade class, the first group of students to graduate from the school since it opened six years ago, with a Johnny Appleseed tree that will be planted in the garden.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.