New Outdoor Classroom in Jackson

Keep Jackson People teaches Poindexter students about planting fruits and vegetables in the raised beds in the school's new outdoor classroom.

Keep Jackson People teaches Poindexter students about planting fruits and vegetables in the raised beds in the school’s new outdoor classroom.

Keep Jackson Beautiful is working on a new outdoor classroom at Poindexter Elementary School in Jackson. KJB volunteers did much of the work in late December to establish the gardens that are part of the classroom.

“This project is a special one to Keep Jackson Beautiful because the classroom creates a place where students can learn about the environment and allows teachers to expand the scope of their lesson plans,” KJB Executive Director Marsha Hobson said.

“KJB works to involve the community and encourages them to think of the environment as an educational component for the children and allows them to see the importance of increasing the students’ interest and awareness of their own environment,” she said.

KJB received a $5,000 Lowe’s Community Improvement Grant available to Keep America Beautiful affiliates. Volunteers also included Lowe’s Heroes, the volunteer corps at local Lowe’s stores.

“Because of Lowe’s, many young students will be learning about their environment for years to come in a natural setting,” Hobson said.

Last month, volunteers built raised beds and then planted herbs, lettuces, strawberries, onions, artichokes and blueberries in them. They also planted fruit trees. Nearby, volunteers established pollinator gardens to attract bees and butterflies, which are important to the fruits and vegetables.

The students at Poindexter will be learning about vegetables as they watch the garden grow and collect edible food grown by their own hands. In the coming weeks, Keep Jackson Beautiful will complete the grant project by adding an outdoor stage and a weather station.

“The environment has become an ever more important issue in the lives of young students today in Mississippi,” Hobson said. “By allowing them a hands-on opportunity to learn about nature, they will grow up with a better knowledge of the environment and its importance. They will learn about man’s impact upon it and how they can make a difference even in a small area such as their school and community.”

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