Ms. Hawley is a high school teacher from Indiana who said, "students need to know they are not the only people and living organisms in the world … introducing students to service and making connections to their community can make lifelong experiences that help them find what they are passionate about and inspire them to make a difference."
A group of just under 70 10th grade students participated in the mini-grant supported Decatur Township Community Garden Stewardship Project. Ms. Hawley incorporated the lessons Environmental Groups and Three Economic Sectors, Growing An Environmental Steward, and Beneficial Bees.
Students built a community garden and fenced in and provided space for growing much needed fresh produce. The goal of this project was to help the students and the community to develop gardening skills, as well as to build community relationships between the school and community by providing food.
One student said, "We believe that if the community is healthy and connected then it plants the seeds for success and change for the future." Another said, " I think with what we achieved it was successful. We could only do so much with the resources we had and we just have to promote our garden and hope that people will take the initiative to try to make a positive impact and use our garden as a resource."
According to Ms. Hawley, the students learned new skills in building and maintaining a garden and were even able to make connections to nutrition. They also made connections to their community and adults in the school district.
"These students have not developed and completed a large project like this before and through this experience they've developed pride in themselves and their community."