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WILDCAT GARDEN DAY SPRINGS INTO ACTION
Young minds aren’t the only things being nurtured at Wesley Chapel Elementary School. The Wildcat Garden is blooming with fruit trees, strawberries, tomato plants, broccoli, lettuce, eggplant, squash, and a variety of other fruits and vegetables thanks to the overwhelming participation during the 1st Annual Wildcat Garden Day.
Students were invited to bring in a flowering plant, fruit or vegetable plant, or fruit tree to plant themselves in the new Wildcat Garden. “The response was overwhelming,” said Physical Education Specialist and Garden Day coordinator, Chris Gorman. “We had over 450 plants brought in by our wonderful students and the best part was that they got to plant them.” The students brought their plants to the front of the school upon arrival where they were marked with their names. Volunteers helped place the plants in their appropriate spots in the garden according to their type. Then the students came out at their designated times and were each given a pair of gloves and a shovel. Once they located their plant or tree, the dirt began to fly. Volunteers helped the students dig the appropriate sized hole and carefully removed the plants from their containers. The students then filled up two large cups with water and gave their plants a nice drink. Then it was off to the mulch pile where they filled up a small crate with mulch and returned to place it around the freshly planted specimen.
The garden now contains a variety of fruit trees including avocado, lemon, orange, tangerine, peach, apple, plum, pear, pomegranate, and grapefruit just to name a few. The vegetable and fruit section boasts a bounty of herbs, asparagus, peppers, green beans, watermelon, black berries, blue berries, raspberries, kiwi, grapes, okra, tomatoes, broccoli, lettuce, squash, eggplant, strawberries.
The garden day was the inspiration of John Abernathy, Principal of Wesley Chapel Elementary School. “The students were very excited to be apart of the garden day. Once the fruits and vegetables are ready for harvest, the students can have samples of them during their lunch times.”
Funding was provided in part by a grant from The NFL Fuel Up To Play 60 and the Dairy Council of Florida. Wesley Chapel Elementary is also the only school in Pasco County to win the National Bronze Award from The Alliance for a Healthier Generation for two years. Wesley Chapel Elementary School earned the National Recognition Award by improving its nutrition services and physical activity programs to meet or exceed stringent standards set by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program. The Healthy Schools Program provides expert advice and resources at no cost to more than 15,000 schools nationwide to help them reverse the childhood obesity epidemic.
BELOW: Wesley Chapel Elementary Principal, John Abernathy prepares positions the plants for the garden, and Fourth grade student, Jay Twardosz, finishes planting his variegated lemon tree.
Current meal prices
Reduced Price Breakfast: $0.30
Reduced Price Lunch: $0.40
Full Price Breakfast
Full Price Lunch
Secondary Classic: $2.50
Secondary Alternative: $3.00
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