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Community Partnership receives $500 grant for Miller Elementary School outdoor classroom

EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — The Community Partnership for Egg Harbor Township Schools Inc. received a $500 Gro More Good Grassroots grant in April to enhance the outdoor classroom area at Dr. Joyanne D. Miller Elementary School, which serves more than 1,100 fourth- and fifth-grade students.

One of 175 school and nonprofit organizations across the U.S. to receive the grant, the Community Partnership’s award will assist in providing natural seating, a compost area, seedling grow-trays, seeds, fertilizer, soil, mulch and a white board for the already-established outdoor learning lab, where lesson are delivered through nontraditional teaching methods in the Geometry, Vegetable and Pizza gardens.

Miller’s gardens share one pond and cover more than 800 square feet. The Geometry Garden features perennials including black-eyed Susans, tulips, butterfly bushes, azalea and lambs' ears planted in geometric shapes to promote cross-curricular learning. Growing takes place in equilateral and isosceles triangles, as well as square, rectangular and trapezoidal shapes. The vegetable garden features eight raised beds that are planted, cared for and harvested by students. Cabbage, summer squash, sunflowers (for seeds), tomatoes and other healthy roughage is planted annually. Herbs are grown in what students dubbed the "Pizza Garden." Vegetables and herbs are harvested for an annual Salad Day at the school. What isn’t consumed at school is sent home with students.

The student-constructed gardens boost student engagement through hands-on, project-based learning activities requiring students to use problem-solving and teamwork skills to accomplish tasks, according to teachers.

The Gro More Good Grassroots grant program is part of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation and KidsGardening.org’s commitment to bring the life-enhancing benefits of gardens and greenspaces to communities across the United States with the goal of supporting programs that reach ten million youth by 2023.

Since its inception in 2005, the Community Partnership, a 501(c )(3) nonprofit public charity, has raised more than $465,000 for academic enhancement, instructional technology, extra-curricular activities and capital projects for Egg Harbor Township schools. Donations to the Community Partnership are tax-deductible, as allowable by law. For more information on the grant, see KidsGardening.org. To learn more about the Community Partnership see communitypartnershipeht.org or call 609-646-8441, ext. 1017.

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