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4H Green Club Debuts New Garden Plots at Jennie Dean

Faculty sipped lemonade, wrote messages of gratefulness on new dry-erase picnic tables and admired six new raised beds for school use.

Students head back to school this week, but one rising Kindergartener has already gotten a glimpse of what school is going to be like, thanks to a partnership between Jennie Dean Elementary School and the local 4H Green Club.

The Manassas City elementary school was the site of a Lemonade Reception last Thursday to celebrate and debut newly-built raised garden beds.

The event was held by the local 4H Green Club and was attended by school staff, including principal Dr. Robin A. Toogood ll.

What was being celebrated? Six new raised beds (one for each grade), three new dry-erase tables and two additional rain barrels—all made possible through a Lowe's Toobox for Education Grant.

The grant request was a collaborated effort by the Manassas City Schools central office, Jennie Dean Parent Teachers Association, Virginia Cooperative Extension, City of Manassas Refuse and Recycling and 4H Green Club.

"We have wonderful, active parents," said Jennie Dean Elementary School Principal Dr. Toogood.

The garden plots are located in a courtyard at the front of school and are ready for planting. Teachers will be able to use the gardens as a teaching tool throughout the year.

Students will also be able to 'plot' out the blueprint for their class's garden on new dry-erase tables, also located in the outdoor courtyard.

Rising Kindergartner, 5-year-old Eva Coleman, was able to visit the sensory garden already started in the Preschool garden bed, and met her new Science and Social Studies teacher, Ms. Terreri.

The two discussed what they would like to plant in the 'Kindergarten' raised bed, such as flowering plants of "all different colors."

Ms. Terreri said she is please to have a "teaching tool that is alive" and that provides "real contact" for students, as opposed to limiting learning from a book.

Terreri said she is also going to use the opportunity to go out to the garden to teach students about the weather.

The 4-H Green Club  maintains two garden plots at the location, but green club leader and JDES Outdoor School Garden Project Coordinator, Suzanne Seaberg wanted the school to be able to utilize the area as well, and the effort was born. The area is expected to be used for hands-on learning, before and after school tending and life skills building in a fresh air environment.

School staff will be assisting in naming the new outdoor garden classroom. Any suggestions to help them on their way?

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