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Wilson Middle School

2023 Best In Class Nominee for Growing into the Future

Students tending the Wildcats Blooms Garden

Wilson Middle School
Growing into the Future

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The Wildcats Blooms Garden has become a model for school gardens district-wide, hosting field trips and professional development opportunities. Before taking the role of School Garden Resource Teacher for APS, Susan Schipull managed the garden with Kate Porterfield. Now, Eric McCracken continues to engage community groups to support the garden so the garden can support the school community.  As an example, in the most recent Foundation-funded proposal, Ms. Schipull wrote, “Our garden elective classes and the Intensive Global Support Services class will be working together on four project-based learning opportunities using STEM activities and concepts. We will grow plants in traditional and hydroponics/aquaponics growing systems, make a community seed library, create a student cookbook, and use digital and media arts including photography, video creation, and writing as a way to tell our garden story, as we continue to grow and improve our garden program.” Mr. McCracken uses the garden in new and innovative to enhance what students are learning inside and outside of the classroom.  

Together, Ms. Schipull and Mr. McCracken state, “When students come into the garden at Wilson Middle School, a unique learning experience begins. We have discovered that there is truly a place for every student in the garden. They are at the center of our garden.  Students learn the gardening process all the way from cultivating the soil, starting plants, planting what they started, tending the plants all the way to harvest and putting the garden to sleep in the winter. Our goal is to continue to engage students as gardeners, stewards of the land, creators and builders now and into the future. Help us develop new opportunities for students as we open up the space for elementary experiences, prepare teachers to use the garden in all content areas and encourage healthy eating with the addition of a hydroponic Smart Farm and the building of an outdoor kitchen prep space. When schools visit our garden, we would be able to provide plants for them to take back to their respective schools and begin their own garden journey. Each vote for the Wilson Wildcat Blooms Garden is like planting a seed that will help us continue to grow our program into the future. We appreciate your vote!”