Students Dig into Big Project

September 27, 2013 Updated Sep 27, 2013 at 5:52 AM EDT

By WKBW News

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September 27, 2013 Updated Sep 27, 2013 at 5:52 AM EDT


East Aurora, N.Y. (WKBW) - .Six-year-old Marissa Valvo and her kindergarten class are taking a field trip. They are not going by bus. They are walking to a special garden just steps from their school.

“I like when we picked the carrots because the red ones were yummy,” Valvo said.

Students and teachers at Parkdale Elementary School in East Aurora planted and care for this garden. They said it has become a hands-on learning project, thanks to one local group.

“The East Aurora Educational Foundation. It's usually small grants but we wrote a proposal and they gave us $8,000 to start the garden,” Teacher Kimberly McAtee said.

Now, the garden is flourishing. The kids pick, smell, and taste all the vegetables and other plants. They even wait in line for edible petals, as if they were candy. For many of these five and six year old, it is the first time they have seen these types of plants.

“We were picking some things that were ripe, some tomatoes and I dug up some carrots. Many kids have never see a carrot out of a garden. They only eat the baby carrots from the store. For some this is the first time they tasted a carrot,” McAtee said.

This project is not only for the school. Families of the students also get involved with the upkeep of the garden, along with volunteers from the community.

“We had close to 100 families sign up to start it and maintain it. It's turned into a part time job for me volunteer,” Volunteer Nicole Morris-McLaughlin said.

Valvo has a garden at home. She said she learned a lot from Ms. McAtee and their school garden. Skills that she brings home to her help her plants grow. She has one favorite part of her experience with the garden.

“We get to pick the vegetables and get to have them for snacks sometimes,” Valvo said.