She plans to use part of the money to upgrade the watering system, which currently consists of Young watering the garden by hand. Orchard representatives are expected to come to the class and help with the planting next week. The Garden Program is a statewide campaign to help schools create and maintain gardens. Selected schools partner with OSH stories which supply the tools, seed and supplies. In addition to Oak Mesa Elementary, western San Gabriel Valley schools – Garfield Elementary in Alhambra and Don Benito Fundamental in Pasadena – were also chosen to receive a $1,000 award. Candace Annett’s third-graders at Don Benito Fundamental will expand their “Celebration Garden” – roses planted in honor of outstanding teachers or volunteers. LA VERNE – Teacher Lisa Young’s first-grade class at Oak Mesa Elementary wanted to plant a garden – filled with marigolds and poppies – that would attract flittering and colorful butterflies. Through a $1,000 award from Orchard Supply Warehouse’s School Garden Program, Young’s youngsters will soon be tending to the soil, planting flowers and vegetables in the small plot behind the portable classroom. Incorporating classroom learning with outdoor, hands-on experience is getting more support from education leaders. The state Department of Education in February announced that schools that invest in gardens – floral or edible – are eligible to apply for $15 million in grants. Three years ago, Young and a fellow Oak Mesa teacher decided to start an on-campus garden, and while it was maintained during the school year, students would come back to a garden “overrun with weeds,” Young said. The garden was created during the 2003-04 school year and has 27 different roses so far. Every Friday, the class spends time tending to the roses. Immediate upgrades include the irrigation and obtaining new gardening tools, Annett said. Both Young and Annett said that their young students benefit from having gardens. Science journals are regularly kept with observations or pictures showing how a flower or plant is growing. The science curriculum includes a section on plant life covering topics like “why is a stem important?” “This gives the children the opportunity to do something other than paper and pencil,” Young said. [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2108160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!