The students at Killip Elementary have been busy in the garden this fall with growing, harvesting, field trips, and on-site events!
The Learning Garden at Killip Elementary in early August.
The school year kicked off with students from all grade levels enthusiastically maintaining the garden during their recess time, Fit Kids, and the after-school Garden Club. The students diligently watered and weeded the garden until the harvest rewarded their efforts. In late August, the Killip School Garden produced abundant peppers and kale to make kale salsa samples for the whole school (supplementary tomatoes were graciously donated by Kate Waters of Agave Maria Botanicals). In addition to garden care, students learned about compost from Forestdale Farm co-owner, Rylan, and implemented this knowledge by collecting compost in the cafeteria.
Fifth grade students and NAU partners following the field trip.
In October, the 4th- and 5th-grade students had the opportunity to deepen their garden exploration with a field trip to the SLUGG garden hosted by NAU’s Sustainable Communities program and Farm-to-School First Year Seminar, and with a garden redesign project. On the field trip, students explored the ecology of soil, medicinal plants, various pollinators, and garden design. The students also learned from Marina Vasquez of NAU’s Applied Indigenous Studies program about the history of tortillas and had the chance to prepare their own tortillas in the NAU Hogan. The garden redesign took place during Fit Kids class time where students utilized the Engineering Design Process to problem solve and plan their Experimental Garden. This multi-month planning period ended with 12 student representatives presenting to the principal, Joe Gutierrez, and a funder from NAU about the goals and potential benefits of their garden project. The students were awarded funding and will be building a 140-square-foot, U-shaped raised garden bed in the spring!
Community partners, Marina Vasquez, Caleb Eckery, and Molly Carney, help students prepare tortillas during the Harvest Festival.
Finally, the annual Fall Harvest Festival in early November culminated a season full of productivity and fun in the Killip Garden. This year’s festival took place in the gym with 10 food sampling stations, several games, crafts, and participation from students, staff, and volunteers alike. With over 150 after-school students of all grades participating in this year’s Fall Harvest Festival and donations from 12 community partners, it was a great way to celebrate the growing season!
Kindergarten and 1st grade students prepare their Plant Part Garden for winter during recess.
The Killip Elementary garden is supported by FoodCorps. Community partners that offered donations for the Harvest Festival include AZ Health Zone, Coconino County Extension Office, Flagstaff Family Food Center, Flagstaff Foodlink, FLG Terroir, FoodCorps, High Altitude Home Brew Supply, NAU Farm-to-School class, NAU Sustainable Communities, Master’s Program, Root Public House, and Whole Foods.
Written by Brooke Kahl, FoodCorps AmeriCorps Service Member