University–Elementary School Partnerships: Using Landscape Design and Construction Classes to Create School Teaching Gardens

in HortScience
Author: N.K. Lownds1
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  • 1 Dept. of Agronomy and Horticulture, New Mexico State Univ., Las Cruces, NM 88005

Bring together a university landscape horticulture professor who believes in school gardens, a landscape design class, a landscape construction class, enthusiastic elementary school teachers and a willing principal, and you can create wonderful teaching gardens. The interactions among university students, elementary teachers, and students were a true learning experience for everyone. University students were involved in a true problem-solving project, being forced to look at problems and solutions through the eyes of elementary school children. Their expertise was valued as they were asked to explain horticulture to first and second graders. For some, this was the first time they really understood some of the concepts. Teachers and students were active participants throughout the process. Sharing thoughts and ideas was dynamic throughout the design and construction. Ways to initiate and maintain university–school partnerships will be presented.

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