Pierce County News Release
More than 600 students learning about food and composting in the classroom are finally getting their hands in the soil.
Environmental educators from Pierce County Public Works and Utilities taught a series of lessons to sixth-grade science classes at Ford Middle School, located in the Midland community. The lessons focused on how to reduce the amount of waste generated by the average person. Students were encouraged to think about the impacts of their choices, from the food they eat to the things they buy.
Beginning last week, the students are spending two weeks working at the Franklin Pierce School District’s “Farm,” or Natural Science Resource Center, a 10-acre site at the corner of Waller Road and 97th Street East. They are helping to restore habitat in the orchard, plant corn raised in their classrooms and prepare raised planting beds and surrounding areas for summer crops.
Some of the district’s high school students and members of the Washington Conservation Corps are helping to guide the students with proper planting of their corn, weed pulling, and compost hauling.
This is the second consecutive year that Ford Middle School students have been to the Farm. Last year, the sixth-graders helped pull weeds, shovel compost and prepare beds for planting. They also picked up hundreds of pounds of trash and scrap metal found underneath overgrown bushes. Those students return as seventh-graders this week to continue their work and see how their efforts fared over the year. The blackberry bush they removed has not grown back and the once-buried compost bays they uncovered are now in use.
Fruits and vegetables grown at the farm will go to local food banks and some school lunches. The Farm is open in the summer so students and volunteers can visit and maintain the gardens.
The Solid Waste division’s four environmental educators teach in all of the school districts in Pierce County except Tacoma (where students learn from the City of Tacoma’s EnviroChallenger program). More than 2,100 students from over 30 schools participated in Pierce County’s programs this school year. More information about the environmental education program can be found at www.piercecountywa.org/enviroed.