Our Garden and Green house Grant

Since 2008 Springwater Environmental Sciences School (SESS) has had a large and attractive garden where students have learned to work the soil and nurture plants.  This year there is a new found excitement in better utilizing the garden as an outdoor classroom that includes the installation of a new greenhouse and sponsorship of Kaci Rae Christopher, an Americorp service member, to guide and manage the garden.  Grant money and the generosity of our Springwater community are making these improvements possible.

You may not have known it, but Springwater has a staff of grant writers who are all volunteers.  They research what grants are available and apply for them throughout the year.  The grant writing committee for 2012/2013 is Genevieve Sheesley, David Cross, Darcey Bone and Karen Buehrig.  Families are encouraged to submit grant opportunities to gen@inaccordnw.com.  The grant writing committee would love to hear from others who would be interested in participating in grant writing.

The money that made construction of the greenhouse possible came from a HEAL grant.  This is the Healthy Eating, Active Living grant program sponsored by the Clackamas County Health, Housing and Human Services Department.  In 2011/2012 fifteen local organizations received a combined $102,482!  The grant was authored by Karen Buehrig and coordinated by Genevieve Sheesley.  Grant recipients include nonprofits, agencies and schools that work to promote health through education, community gardening, and fitness, and benefit all segments of the population from children to adults.  The Americorp grant was a separate grant authored by Dawn Bolotow.

Springwater’s grant writers were able to communicate the vision of how the greenhouse would be incorporated into the curriculum and into our existing Friday Field studies.  SESS was granted $2600 for construction of a greenhouse.  This grant was a matching or in-kind grant.  That means that SESS had to match the grant money awarded with volunteer hours and/or material donations.  Those in-kind donations came from McGill & Son who donated the green house structure and covering, and from various SESS families and staff including Casey Beatty and Carolyn McGill who donated hours of construction time and materials.

The 2012-13 year is underway, and the greenhouse is already working as an educational asset.  Jenna, an 8th grader, is working on the layout design for the greenhouse as her 8th grade capstone project.  Other students are encouraged to find ways to use the greenhouse for class projects.  Springwater is very lucky to have a resource that will allow students to learn year-round about how plants respond to the impacts of sunlight, soil, water, nutrients and other factors in a controlled environment.


Article written by: Veronica Caldwell