School Garden Tour for March Green Drinks a Hit!

Updated: Apr 25

Our Ag Ed Curriculum Coordinator Cynthia and Partners Draw Big Crowd


a woman stands near a gate enclosing a pig under a tree in front of a building
Gary is a miniature Julianna pig owned by 9-12 Montessori teacher, Christina McDonough. He just turned 2!


Quite a bit of activity can be found at Gamble Montessori Elementary School (GME)⁠—and we're not just talking about inside the building! The school, located in Cincinnati’s Westwood neighborhood, also boasts a number of outdoor learning spaces throughout its campus, including gardens, an outdoor classroom, a livestock pen, and more. These outdoor learning spaces provide active programming to students in kindergarten through sixth grade to learn about food, agriculture, and many other subjects in an immersive and engaging way—outdoors!



group of about ten adults stand outside on a sidewalk, with a table that has flyers and flowers
Principal Melissa Ridley welcomed attendees to tour the gardens and outdoor learning spaces at the Gamble Elementary.

To show off GME’s unique outdoor learning spaces and to discuss the educational opportunities they provide, the Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council and Green Umbrella’s CPS Outside impact team partnered with the school’s principal, Melissa Ridley, to host a tour of the property and school gardens for Green Umbrella members and community residents. Chris Clements, Executive Director of Imago, and Cynthia Walters, the GCRFPC’s Agricultural Education Curriculum Coordinator and Green Schoolyards Coordinator for CPS Outside, helped execute the event, which brought together 50 attendees into the school’s gardens and other outdoor learning centers across the campus.


Cynthia smiles, holding a large poster board with papers and photos on it, outside on a sidewalk in front of a field
Our Regional Ag Ed Curriculum Coordinator Cynthia holds up a collage poster made by Gamble Elementary staff explaining the plan and progress of the Gamble Elementary gardens and outdoor learning spaces.

GES is part of Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS), and is an active partner in the Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council’s Farm to School work, which aims for universal classroom exposure of students to agriculture and nutrition literacy education. CPS as a district practices values-based food purchasing and participates in the Feed Our Future local food promotion program. The GCRFPC awarded GME a school garden grant this school year to facilitate garden education for the students, under the leadership of parent volunteer Katie Ashton. The school is also one of the many CPS schools involved in CPS Outside, a Green Umbrella impact team working to ensure all students have equitable access to nature through improvements to school campuses and more.


The GCRFPC’s Farm to School efforts and the work of CPS Outside overlap in several ways, including the promotion of school gardens, delivery of professional development for educators, and connections between curriculum and outdoor education. GES’s campus and outdoor learning facilities are perfect examples of this collaboration, connecting the physical and curricular resources needed to get more kids learning in school gardens!


 

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