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What do children learn at school or even the public library about being a better environmental steward? You might be surprised.

Some local cities have public libraries, as in the case of the City of Duncanville encouraging children to learn to grow in the library garden.

Later this year, an outdoor garden will be added off the Children’s Library at the City of Grand Prairie’s Main Library.

The City of Cedar Hill’s Public Library has a community garden that is open to kids too. Part of the library’s Zula B. Wylie Public Library Community Garden offers an educational plot called the Children’s Garden.

The Children’s Garden is incorporated into a learning program at the library where kids learn about where food comes from, while actually getting their hands dirty.

Cedar Hill’s Lake Ridge Elementary has a garden and students at the school can take part in the world of gardening by joining the school’s Gardening Club. Gardening Club students are in grades three to five.  It was the Zula B. Wylie Public Library’s children’s garden that served as the model for the Cedar Hill ISD school garden project. There are currently six plots at Lake Ridge Elementary and the garden is used as a model.

Diane Rahrig, Secretary to Director, Mansfield ISD-Student Nutrition Department said that ISD has some community garden aspects as well.  They offer classes on subjects like EnviroScape and water issues.

Grand Prairie ISD has gardens at all the elementary campuses as well as some secondary. There are also teachers that serve as garden coordinators and work to make sure the gardens are utilized for instruction as well as maintained. 

Brenda Townsend, NSEC Program Coordinator at Grand Prairie ISD said: “Each campus goes about this differently... For example, some have outside volunteers, others have clubs of students, some create schedules for all classrooms to use the space, etc.”

In the case of Lancaster Middle School, where children are actually growing food by using Aquaponics, students recently even had a chance to dine on the food they had grown. Students had planted lettuce seeds in January and were able to harvest the lettuce three months later. The students also raise catfish.

“Aquaphonics is a system of aquaculture in which the waste produced by farmed fish or other aquatic animals supplies nutrients for plants grown hydroponically, which in turn purify the water,” said Lancaster Middle School Librarian Raquel Hewitt. 

The children grow and raise the fish and then use the fish’s waste to grow food.

A very important Magnet Academy in DeSoto just had a nice gift added to its garden. The City of DeSoto Parks and Recreation Department donated a shade structure for the campus garden area at Ruby Young Elementary. The structure will allow classes to take place outside and give the students shade while learning about the garden. Ruby Young Medical and Environmental Sciences Magnet Academy students use the greenhouse, gardens, and outdoor learning spaces for everyday classes. The program gives students the opportunity to study different forms of clean energy (solar, wind, hydro), soil, and insects that play a vital role in the life cycle of plants, and the habitat and nutrition of small animals. Students are active in the garden where learn the process of planting, pruning and harvesting various crops and plant life.