Students grow food in greenhouse at Leverett Elementary School

Franklin County

LEVERETT, Mass. (WWLP) – In it’s 10th year, Leverett Elementary School’s greenhouse is a staple in the school community.

“This is the most wonderful thing. It really is a full spectrum of the things that have to do with plants and the joy that comes from it,” Dawn Marvin Ward, Greenhouse manager and educator told 22News.

But now it’s in need of repairs and upgrades to keep it going for at least another ten years. The greenhouse needs a new plastic cover, the current one leaks, .a new irrigation system, tool shed, educational materials and more.

“I’ve talked to a number of people who’ve contributed who’ve told me that their children tell them that the best part of school is the greenhouse,” President of the Leverett Education Foundation, Steve Weiss told 22News.

The Leverett Education Foundation is hoping to raise $20,000 for the needed repairs and additions.

“One of our interests as the Foundation is nature education and outdoor learning and we knew the greenhouse had been a wonderful program here,” Weiss continued.

The students grow all sorts of produce, flowers and herbs. They even grow lettuce that gets used in their school lunches to add to the salads.

The greenhouse is 10 years old and they’re hoping for at least another 10 years if they can raise money for the repairs needed. “The kids just love it. We have the lettuce crew. They just come charging out to harvest lettuce,” Ward said.

But the greenhouse isn’t just about growing food like radishes, it’s a complete living environment. This year this year the students had the chance to watch a turtle lay its eggs and watch them hatch in one of the greenhouses’ the flower beds.

“This place is humming and it is a very joyous place. You’ll hear shrieks and squeals or some kids will be humming,” Ward continued. All the sounds of having fun while learning.

While they may not have a tool shed, what they currently have in the school is a love for the environment and a teacher who grows that love. The children learn about the bee life cycle. Dawn told 22News the kids love the bees that pollinate their plants so much that sometimes they’ll even pet them!

“I am hoping that they’re learning to appreciate the act that a seed can grow into something that they can use, they can wear it , they can eat it, they can enjoy it,” Dawn Marvin Ward, Greenhouse manager and educator said.

The last 10 years it’s been Dawn herself applying for independent grants and getting donations from parents to support the greenhouse. The Education Foundation hopes to get the supplies and make the repairs needed during Spring of 2022, the 11th anniversary of the greenhouse.

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