The Bears Care Garden was featured on Beachwood Elementary School’s Primary News

Mrs. Theresa Lindemann, Bears Care Garden Coordinator, was interviewed by the Beachwood Elementary Primary News Team about the garden for the Feb. 19 2016 broadcast. The garden segment begins at the 19 minute mark in this video.

Thank you, Beachwood Elementary School Primary News!

Hi, I’m Tommy.

And I’m Rebecca, we are here with a Beachwood parent, Mrs. Lindemann, to talk about an exciting project that is going on at our school.

Mrs. Lindemann, could you tell us exactly what the Bears Care Garden is?

Well, the Bears Care Garden is a school garden in which there’s going to be garden beds surrounding an outdoor classroom. In the middle here, there are going to be benches and it will provide an opportunity for place based learning.

Who came up with the idea for this garden?

I can’t take credit for the idea. The idea has actually been around since the late 1900’s, it started to decrease in popularity after the 2nd world war. I also know that a lot of parents in the school, before I was even a parent here were tossing around the idea but I think everything just came together this year.

***(Theresa Lindemann may not take credit for the garden in this interview but she has really been the heart and soul of the project so far. Her passion, dedication and hard work have been the driving force to organize the effort to get this garden started and we THANK HER and we are very grateful for all that she has done to make the Bears Care Garden project successful!)***

After the 1970’s it started regrowing in popularity and then this idea of place based learning has come out the past few years.

What work has been done so far and who is doing it?

A team of dedicated Beachwood Bears installing the fence and mixing in fertilizer... March 13, 2016
A team of dedicated Beachwood Bears installing the fence and mixing in fertilizer… March 13, 2016
You can kind of see that we are in progress here. We are in the space right now and the group of parent volunteers laid the bricks to build the raised garden beds and the compost came from Beachwood municipal donated the compost and helped put it in place. The fence is in progress, we’ll be working on that again in the middle of March. So it’s a little in the process, but that’s where we are at.

Also, we are doing some fundraising. We are going to have engraved brick walkways. Also, in March, some classes are going to start planting seeds in the classroom and then after spring break the rest of the classes will start planting seeds. So we are still planning.

Where are you getting the materials and supplies needed for this garden?

A lot of the materials have been by generous donations so far. All of the cement bricks were a personal donation from a family. The compost was a donation from the municipality of Beachwood, thank you. Everything has been donated so far. We are also doing some fundraising for tools and everything else. We are also a subcommittee of the PTO so the PTO is there to back us up financially with any supplies and anything we need. We also had the seeds donated from a family in the school so a lot of donation and a lot of fundraising.

What will you be planting this spring?

We have a lot of different things on the plans. We have eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers – they grow really well in the state of New Jersey. And then also some leafy greens, some radishes, I don’t think we are doing too many obscure things quite yet. It will kind of grow over time. Then we are going to have some clippings of some raspberries and blueberries and stuff and we’ll have that over in an area – they come back each year so we won’t have to worry about planting them again. That’s the plan so far. It’s going to have a lot of stuff in it.

Who is going to care for this garden?

Students! With the help of teachers and parent volunteers. Over the summer, I recently learned about the extended school year program that will be happening over the summer. Those students will hopefully help maintain the garden over the summer. We’ll also have a sign up sheet for volunteers who will help maintain the garden and do some harvesting over the summer. I’m personally going to make some organized play dates – I’ll invite some of my friend’s kids and we’ll all hang out in the garden and maintain the garden all together.

How will the students benefit from this garden?

School gardens are known to increase academic achievements, which is really cool. Also, with having place based learning, they will be able to have hands on learning for certain lessons like photosynthesis, or soil composition. A lot of art stuff can be done kind of incorporating the garden. It can really fit into a lot of different subjects so the school garden will hopefully be something that really connects kids as a fun and exciting and different way of learning.

Also, personally, eating healthier. Hopefully, because the students are growing it and taking an active part in the growth of the healthy foods will feel more connected to it and have a life long love for these foods continuing into adulthood therefore making them less susceptible to diet related diseases.

Can we look forward to a grand opening?

We’re doing something called an appreciation day. We are going to invite a lot of community members and people who really helped to develop the garden. People who really contributed to it and anyone who bought bricks will be invited to the garden – that’s going to be on June 3rd with a rain date of June 7th.

As soon as the weather gets nice and the benches are out, hopefully classes will start taking place out here. That should be about April at the latest, I would say. There’s no real grand celebration or opening ceremony planned, but we will have that appreciation day. I think it’s important to keep saying thank you to anyone who’s really contributing to it. You guys, really will be contributing a lot, so thank you!

Thank you for all your hard work, Mrs. Lindemann. We are so glad we could join you today.