Chisago Lakes Middle School

  • Serves students in grades 6-8
  • Garden size 16′ x 39′
  • Have both veggie and pollinators gardens
  • Students grow plants from seeds
  • Garden tied to MN state standards
  • Ecology club manages garden in summer
  • Partners with community groups

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The gardens at Chisago Lakes Middle School are designed to teach students how to grow healthy food and the importance of community service. Their garden also teaches mindfulness, reduces anxiety and simply gets students out of their seats to get outdoors and get their hands dirty. The garden takes students from theory to reality and helps release their wonderful energy in a very positive way, while at the same they get to work in the sunshine. Their students grow a few different varieties of prairie plants/flowers that benefit pollinators and then give them to parents at their open house so that they can establish bee and butterfly habitats at home and hopefully encourage others to reduce their lawn sizes. Their students grow the plants from seeds in March in their classrooms, and then transplant them into their gardens in the spring. By growing plants from seeds, students learn that everything in life begins as a seed whether it is a plant, a tree or an idea that thrives when nurtured. Teachers work to involve local service groups to work cooperatively with students, thus benefiting their community as well as their students. Students are required to weed, water, thin and take care of plants. A smaller group of students, that they call their Ecology Club, helps monitor the garden in the summer months and to donate fresh produce to food shelves when available. In the fall, students help distribute plants to parents on give-away days and also learn how to prepare the garden in fall for rest in the winter months.