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Student learning flourishes in Bowie garden

Thank you, GEEF, for funding our outdoor classroom!


Learning is in full bloom at Bowie elementary, where students are growing their own organic vegetables.


The lessons go beyond botany; they branch out into practically every academic discipline, in addition to lessons in healthy eating habits and knowledge about where food comes from. 

The project is being led by kindergarten teacher Tina Smith.

"I like to do a lot of things hands-on. I think children learn better if they're touching it and doing it themselves," she said. "This is a project that benefits every student in every grade in every subject."


When Smith applied for the grant, entitled "Not just a gardener ... but a mathmetician," Greenville Educational Enrichment Foundation (GEEF) leaders loved the idea, GEEF Treasurer Penni Perkins said.


"It was a no-brainer for us to look at that grant and say yes. We saw the tremendous benefit it would be for students from kindergarten to fifth grade," she said.

The enthusiasm spread from there. When Penni started calling around to price the materials for the garden, Tractor Supply District manager Robert Wall offered to donate all the materials, including learning benches.

"We are proud to be a part of the organic garden at Bowie Elementary," he said. "My wife and I have five children ourselves, and we're teaching our children about growing our own food. It's important to understand and appreciate where food comes from."


Ridgecrest Church volunteer and former GISD ag teacher Charles Davidson stepped up to help design the gardens. And the expansion will continue this spring with a butterfly garden and a chicken coop.


Research finds that learning gardens enrich students' academic achievement, physical health and social and emotional health.


Thank you GEEF for making this project possible!


Your GEEF Dollars at Work is a series of articles spotlighting how the foundation makes a meaningful difference in the lives of GISD students, teachers and the community by fulfilling academic needs. GEEF supporters include GISD teachers, staff members, parents and area businesses and community members.