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Friday, March 6, 2015

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The WGVU Green Growers

01What is Project Green Growers?
It’s an initiative created by WGVU and the Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth. Students from the Commonwealth are exploring PBS web sites about healthy living and the ecosystem, and then taking their knowledge out of the computer lab and into the gardens! They’ll be planning, planting, caring for and harvesting a community garden this summer.

Hear from the Green Growers and Project Managers!
CLICK HERE to see the Green Growers video spots.

How did the project come about?

WGVU and GRYC received a grant from the National Center for Outreach, to run the program in conjunction with PBS Kids GO and pbskids.org/go.

Who runs the project?
Project Green Growers is facilitated by Tim Hileman, Program Coordinator at GRYC, Officer Jim Meeker of GRYC, Emily Maurin, Marketing Coordinator at WGVU and Steve Chappell, Grant Administrator at WGVU.

How’s the project going?
The kids at GRYC have been exploring the web, learning about gardening and trying out fruits and vegetables.  In late May and early June, they planted their seeds in the garden plot.  Now, they’ll spend the summer taking care of their crop of everything from watermelons to jalapeños!  We’ll be posting updates on the project here all summer, so check out what’s new in Project Green Growers!

Download: Green Growers Contract.pdf
Download: Green Growers Handbook.pdf

How can I help the Green Growers?
If you would like to donate supplies (gardening tools, seeds, etc.) to the Green Growers project, or if you would like to volunteer your time, please contact Tim Hileman at 616-233-9370 or Emily Maurin at 616-331-6785.

Links of Interest
Custom Boxes Now!
Environmental Concerns - Recycling
Saving Money & the Environment: A Kid's Guide to Recycling

Week 1: Intro to Program- What is it?
Rules for the group
Went over and signed student agreement
What to Grow?
a). Listed Items/discussion of what each fruit or vegetable is.
b). Voted on what we are going to grow
Talked about next week and next weeks snack (cucumbers)

Week 2: Introduction to PBS and PBS web site
Visited PBS backyard Jungle - Group decided to do two activities from the challenge section - Activity 1 and 4 will be done for the project. (Visit the site here!)
Played PBS Game - Kratt's Creatures (You can play, too! Click here)
Played Dragon Fly TV Game - Matching fruits and vegetables to their individual tree or roots. (You can play, too! Click here)
PBS Website free-time
Studied Cucumbers in our packet
Snacked on Cucumbers
(See photos below! Click to enlarge!)


Week 3: Overview of last week
It's my Life website - Food Pyramid (Visit the site here!)
Went over strawberries in packet
Broke into groups and played MAD MONEY game from It's my Life web site - the team of Jose, Jimella, and Taylor ended up with the most money. The kids had a great time with this! (You can play, too! Click here)
Snacked on Strawberries

Week 4:
Went to About.com to learn how to design a garden site (Visit the site here!)
Studied the right time to plant seeds
Seasons of a garden
Studied Air pollution
Worked in book on grapes
Free time on PBS Kids GO web site
Snacked on Grapes
Emily, Tim and Jim traveled to Madison, WI to report on the progress of the project to the NCO and other grant recipients

Week 5: No meeting

Week 6:
Children went to camp to clean up trash after talking about recycling and pollution. The children also went on a nature hike and enjoyed a game of kickball in the sun.

Week 7:
Children went out to camp to mark the spot for the garden, and continued to clean up area.
(See photos below! Click to enlarge!)

Week 8:
Garden club studied pumpkins in their workbooks, mapped out where they are going to plant the various fruits and vegetables in the garden, and then had free time on PBS Kids GO websites.
Week 9:
Kids began clearing the sod away from the garden plot.  Raked the dirt and cleared out rocks.
Week 10:
The kids finished raking and clearing away rocks and began planting seeds.  WGVU crew came to the garden site and interviewed the gardeners, Tim and Officer Meeker about the project.  (See photos below!  Click to enlarge!)

Weeks 11 and 12:
Camp is in full swing, and the Green Growers have been stopping by the garden daily to check out the progress and take care of the weeds and watering.
A neighbor erected a fence around the garden plot to keep the deer and other animals out.
Things are starting to sprout!
Week 13:
The Green Growers received gardening bags with the project logo printed on it and some gardening supplies inside.
Things continue growing in the garden plot!
Emily traveled to Boston, MA to report on the project progress to the NCO and other grant recipients.  The project was extremely well-received!
Week 14:
The first Green Growers on-air spots hit the airwaves.
The kids continue to visit the garden each day to tend to the weeds and the watering.

Weeks 15 and 16:
The kids are out at camp, partaking in all kinds of activities and cooling off with regular swims.  In their free time, they're keeping an eye on the garden's progress and making sure the crops get plenty of water.

Week 17:
The kids continue to keep an eye on the garden.  Tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, squash, pumpkins and more are starting to grow!  WGVU and GRYC project coordinators met with Lisa Rose Starner from Mixed Greens to talk about incorporating the Green Growers project into Grand Rapids Public Schools.  Find out more about Mixed Greens here!

Weeks 18 – 20:
The kids continue to keep an eye on the garden and things keep growing.  They made tacos and fajitas with the jalapenos and green onions.  Delicious! 
Week 19:
WGVU visited the garden again and interviewed the gardeners and Tim.  Tim, Jim and the kids harvested their corn, zucchini, red peppers, tomatoes and squash.  Watermelon and pumpkins are still on the way!  (See photos below!  Click to enlarge!)

Week 20 – 22:
The kids continue to harvest the last of the crops, and they find recipes for homemade salsa and pumpkin pie.  The project heads meet with Mixed Greens again and discuss having some of the Green Growers introduce their program to the students at Harrison Elementary School.
Week 23:
Everybody’s going back to school and the harvest spot hits the airwaves on WGVU TV.  Write to WGVU Webmaster to view TV spot.

Weeks 24 – 28:
The Green Growers are all back in school, and the program heads have been in contact with Mixed Greens to try and coordinate the continuation of the program, as well as a fall harvest event at Harrison Elementary School.

WGVU is working with Mixed Greens to find ways to extend Project Green Growers into the future.


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