Master Gardeners grants aim to cultivate interest in science

Master Gardeners grants aim to cultivate interest in science

Grant winners Jennifer Grubbs of Pink Hill Elementary School, left, and Kaitlyn Hill of Northwest Elementary School accept their checks from Patricia Bizzell, president of Lenoir County Extension Master Gardeners. Photo by Patrick Holmes / Lenoir County Public Schools

Grants from Lenoir County Extension Master Gardeners will allow two LCPS teachers to use gardening projects to cultivate students’ interest in science.

Grants of $400 each went to Kaitlyn Hill, a second-grade teacher at Northwest Elementary School, and Jennifer Grubbs, the worldview teacher and gardening coordinator at Pink Hill Elementary. The grant awards were presented at the Master Gardeners’ annual Christmas party Dec. 11 by group president Patricia Bizzell.

Hill will use her grant award for a composting and gardening project that will illustrate some basic concepts of biology for her class – how organic matter decomposes, how nutrients affect plant growth and how worms figure into soil health. The funds will pay for garden planters, composting equipment, a thousand composting worms and books about composting.

“Through observing both the worms and plant growth, students will be able to understand life cycles of these organisms, which is part of their science curriculum,” she wrote in her grant application.

Grubbs’ grant award will buy three grow lights and allow students to explore the concept of photosynthesis in her school’s greenhouse.

“Utilizing our existing greenhouse, we will supplement natural light with artificial light to extend the growing season for 50 percent of our plants,” she explained in the grant application. “The other 50 percent of our plants will only receive natural light. As we introduce artificial lights the students should observe a measurable difference between the plants grown with artificial light and the plants grown with natural lighting.”

Students will maintain data on plant growth in an electronic journal, tracking and comparing the growth timeline for the two groups of plants, the teacher added.

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