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UGA Extension offers garden training for teachers this summer By Merritt Melancon

Thousands of Georgia schools are now home to school gardens. These gardens get children excited about learning and trying new vegetables, but they can often be difficult to use and maintain after the initial excitement wears off.

This summer, University of Georgia Extension is offering targeted training sessions to help north and middle Georgia teachers and administrators make the most of existing school gardens or start new gardens. The course involves a short, online training program; some homework; and a half-day, hands-on workshop.

The workshop will cover garden care and maintenance as well as strategies to build lesson plans around the school garden that cover state standards in all subject areas. Teachers will leave with a complete lesson plan that can be used when they head back to class in the fall, said Becky Griffin, workshop organizer and education program specialist with UGA Extension in Cobb County.

Community and school garden experts with UGA Extension are offering the hands-on portion on Tuesday, June 23, in Griffin, Georgia; Thursday, June 25, in Athens, Georgia; and Tuesday, June 30, in downtown Atlanta.

“We’re using online learning, home experiments and hands-on training to provide a one-of-a-kind learning experience to Georgia teachers,” Griffin said. “(Teachers will) come away with the knowledge needed to create a thriving garden as well as lesson plans to connect the garden to state standards.”

The class costs $25 and is open to teachers across the state. For more information or to register, visit ugaurbanag.com/schoolgarden. Teachers who the complete the program will receive a certificate verifying their school garden training.

UGA Extension has hundreds of online, easy to understand resources for teachers and parents to use in making their children’s school garden succeed. How-to publications, Georgia curriculum guides and best practices from successful gardens are available at extension.uga.edu/k12/school-gardens.

(Merritt Melancon is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

School Gardens 2
School Gardens 2

Students at High Shoals Elementary School in Oconee County work in their school garden.

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Students at High Shoals Elementary School in Oconee County work in their school garden. Download Image
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