St. Paul, MN (July 18, 2001) -- On the grounds of H. L. Johnson Elementary School in Palm Beach County Florida, youll find the usual set of swings, monkey bars and slides. Youll also find something else, more than 30 raised-bed gardens complete with ripening tomatoes, pole beans, assorted herbs and enough other healthy looking vegetables to make any home gardener envious. Planted and tended by students, school gardens are growing in popularity. And for good reason say their advocates. They teach a myriad of valuable skills in a way no teacher, book, or computer ever could. They have become so popular, that the worlds largest organization of plant health scientists is devoting an entire day at their upcoming Annual Meeting to the discussion of school gardening programs.
Simply organizing and planting a garden teaches kids about science, math, social studies, economics, and nutrition, states Richard Raid, a plant pathologist at the University of Florida and organizer of School Gardens: Nourishing Bodies, Expanding Minds, the day-long session being held as part of the American Phytopathological Society (APS) annual meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah. According to Raid, educators have found the gardens to be so effective in teaching complex subjects that 25 schools in Palm Beach County Florida alone currently have gardening programs.
Research supports educator observations about the power these gardens have to mold young minds. At the APS meeting, Monika E. Reuter, of the University of Florida, will report the results of her study of the Palm Beach County gardening program in which she found that not only did the gardens encourage learning, but they also enticed children to eat more nutritious foods, with students in the gardening program showing greater inclination to try something they had grown themselves than the same vegetable coming from a supermarket.
Scientists along with area educators will hear reports on other youth gardening programs arPage: 1 2 Related biology news :1
Contact: Cindy Ash
American Phytopathological Society
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