Mancos preschool students have a new garden on site.
It’s part of the Montezuma School to Farm Project, a nonprofit that offers hands-on gardening classes to students and schools throughout the county.
Program staff members and preschool students and teachers celebrated the garden’s creation Tuesday morning, during a ribbon-cutting ceremony that involved students planting sunflower seeds.
“It’s going to be great for the preschoolers,” said Amber Cardwell, a garden teacher with School to Farm.
She added that the close proximity of the garden to the Mancos Early Learning Center would help students understand from a young age where their food comes from.
This is the 10th year of operation for the Montezuma School to Farm Project, which is a program of the Mancos Conservation District. The group’s partnership with the Mancos School District RE-6A means that the district provides the land in kind, and School to Farm leads student lessons and develops the garden area, said PK-5 Principal Cathy Epps.
The Mancos school site previously had a greenhouse on the east side of the middle school, Epps said. However, it was taken down and put in storage at the end of last school year as part of the campuswide renovations currently underway.
The greenhouse is being rebuilt on the other side of the district’s bridge spanning the Mancos River, where new gardens will also be located.
During all this construction, Montezuma School to Farm has been holding its courses inside classrooms. Once the new greenhouse and gardens are complete, they will be able to relocate lessons to the new site, although they will also still conduct some teaching inside.
The preschool gardens were constructed by members of the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, said Laura Brown, the School to Farm coordinator. They had intended to put in the gardens in November, but heavy snow stalled those plans.
The site contains a few separate gardens, including a line of rainbow-painted tire plots with blooming purple flowers. Prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony, students had planted onions and broccoli throughout the gardens.
Epps said that the on-site plots will allow students to take the lessons they learned from the School to Farm and apply them through hands-on gardening experience.