Denver Discovery School (DDS) has big plans for its garden after winning $4,000 and first place in the National Office Furniture Green4Green Video Contest. Schools and universities of all levels nationwide entered a video describing how $4,000 could enhance the school’s environmental efforts. The contest ran for two months and was voted on by the community.
A few DDS students and parents made a video explaining the school’s small budget and need for extra funding to support the garden, which was built with donations from local businesses.
“I’m super proud of the kids and super impressed with the kids who were a part of the video and the parents who have spearheaded so many amazing projects here at DDS,” says Principal Kristen Atwood.
In the video, students enthusiastically explained the goals of the garden, including growing vegetables for the school cafeteria and having a salsa party with ingredients from the garden.
Parent Terri Vagi spearheaded the contest. She calls herself more of an enthusiast than a gardener. “Not to toot my own horn, but I’m very passionate and competitive,” she says. She suspects Facebook friends may have gotten sick of seeing the video on social media.
“It was the craziest last 7 minutes. It was a whirlwind. We won by five votes,” she says, the excitement of the final minutes still lingering in her voice. She wants the garden to be a calm sanctuary for kids to learn and have fun.
The $4,000 allows the school to consider new possibilities with the garden, which they refer to as a community instructional garden. Students use the garden in science class, in social studies to learn about service learning, and art class for landscape projects. “We have a reflection time, meditation, and DEAR (drop everything and read). The students are really making it their home,” Atwood says.
As part of Language Arts class, kids wrote how they think the $4,000 should be used. The school is considering more seating and a shaded area. To learn more about the school’s garden, visit denverdiscoveryschool.dpsk12.org.