During the 2010-2011 school year, two fifth grade students, Alaina Curry and Zariah Peaks, along with a small group of students expressed a desire to study science in a natural setting. Their teachers, Christa Campbell and Lark Petty, agreed that a hands-on approach to science would be more meaningful and make a more lasting impression. Thus began a project that would involve teachers, students, parents, and community volunteers in creating a beautiful and working garden on school grounds.
Mrs. Campbell and fellow science teacher Mrs. Petty created a science club to develop plans for the garden. These teachers wrote a number of grants, and they also collaborated with several parents in writing grants. They initally received grants totaling about $3,600.00 to help with construction.
The project was divided into four phases. Phase one was the planning stage, phase two involved the development and construction of the site, phase three began in the summer with plants going in the ground, and phase four involved developing more areas for planting in the garden.
Much of the science and math curriculum at McFadden is taught through and enhanced by garden experiences that are correlated with state standards. The garden has a compost pile for food waste from the cafeteria, a rainwater collection station that is used for watering the garden, a native cedar glade, a butterfly garden, many bird feeders, and an herb garden. Students are actively involved in the care of the garden.
Mrs. Joan Merryman and Mr. Andy Roach are currently taking care of the garden and putting in the hard work to maintain and expand the garden area.