New garden helps students bloom

Earlier this year, Hailey Elementary School art teacher Shawn Schumacher received a Rural Schools Collaborative Grant of $1,500 to buy supplies for a school garden. With the money—plus the contributions of others in the community—Schumacher aims to teach her students how to grow and maintain plants.

The plants come from seeds Hailey students planted last year. They were transplanted into new garden boxes built for the program. The high elevation of the Wood River Valley offers unique problems for gardening—and Schumacher hopes this will help develop the students’ green thumbs.

“This project has been a great way for our students to learn about gardening, consider the various factors that can affect plants in our climate and connect with nature in new ways,” Schumacher said.

The garden is truly a community effort. The Blaine County Education Foundation gave Hailey Elementary $2,000 to help build the boxes. Two local landscaping companies contributed wood chips. Winn’s Compost donated 8 cubic yards of dirt. After receiving so much support, Schumacher gave back the $1,000 stipend she got with the grant.

“We look forward to continuing to expand this program and get more of our students and staff involved,” she said.

In the future, Schumacher hopes more classrooms can have the joy of their own garden. Hailey Elementary is recruiting parents to help build the boxes for the spring. For now, students across the school can use the area as a chance to learn, observe, read and relax. 

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