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learning garden getting installed at Crow Leadership Academy
Posted in on May 17, 2024

Texas Health and Atmos Energy install learning garden

The new pollinator garden at Crow Leadership Academy wasn’t just designed for butterflies and bees.

It was designed to pollinate young learners’ minds.

Those learners gathered outside last week to witness the installation of their school’s new learning garden.

learning garden getting installed at Crow Leadership Academy“We are so excited for the beginning of the fulfillment of our vision of an expansive outdoor learning classroom and garden,” Crow principal Liznel González-Morales told the entire school. “Our mission for the space is to provide students and teachers an inviting and comfortable natural environment that can be used in multiple ways.”

Gonzalez was not exaggerating when she used the word “expansive.” They have big plans, and last week was just the beginning.

That’s when nearly 30 volunteers from Atmos Energy and Texas Health spent a muggy spring morning shoveling dirt and installing 12 raised gardening beds.

“Every grade level will have their own bed to maintain and come out and use throughout the school year,” said Jennifer Ruby, Crow’s International Baccalaureate coordinator.

The volunteer team also planted shrubs around the outdoor learning area.

“Volunteers, thank you so much for being here today,” Superintendent Dr. Matt Smith said to the sweaty Atmos and Texas Health crew. “The number one thing we believe in is a focus on our students, and it takes partnerships throughout our community to make that happen. The students at Crow Academy deserve the best we can offer. This outdoor learning space is going to take it to the next level.”

Stephanie Jackson is a big reason the next level is really happening at Crow. She oversees school wellness for Texas Health in the DFW area and helped make this garden a reality. She also helped Wimbish World Language Academy install a learning garden in the fall.

“This is just the beginning of having the garden, and we also want to support them with some other fun things we do as well,” Jackson said.

learning garden getting installed at Crow Leadership AcademyShe believes the garden is going to make a big impact on students.

“The benefit is unbelievable,” she said.

From getting more vitamin D to a better understanding of nutrition, the garden will help students physically and academically. Jackson said research shows that a garden can even help students perform better in the classroom and improve test scores.

That’s why Ruby has been pushing for this garden for two years. She’s led the charge for this outdoor learning space and has big plans.

The garden that was installed last week is just phase one. Next, a 20’x20’ pergola will be built to serve as an outdoor learning classroom. Luffa vines will be planted this summer on the pergola roof to provide shade.

Plans also call for a pollinator garden – where kids will get to learn about the butterfly lifecycle – a tool shed, an early years outdoor play area and a fruit tree grove.

“It gives them all these hands-on experiences,” Ruby said. “They can actually see the things they are reading about in books and seeing on videos inside the classroom.”

It will also offer social and emotional benefits, she said.

“Being outside and engaging in the outdoors gives kids a sense of purpose, and we’re really hoping to give back to the community with some of the work we’re going to do here.”

See photos of from the garden installation last week.