Students and volunteers build a garden at Trimble Elementary and Middle School

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JACKSONVILLE, Ohio (WOUB) — A man dumps dirt into a garden bed while students with shovels level it out in preparation for the next load. 

Other students hammer metal rods into the corners of the bed to keep it secure. Some paint decorations on CDs, landscaping stones and keys.  

This was all part of a daylong project this week outside of Trimble Elementary and Middle School to build a garden that will be a new part of their education this fall. 

A child is hammering a metal rod into the corner of a garden bed at Trimble Elementary and Middle School using a hammer.
The garden beds at Trimble are secured by driving metal rods into the ground to anchor the corners. [Shane Scalfaro | WOUB Public Media]
Volunteers from around the district came to lend their time and energy to help construct the garden. Katie Albers-Houska, elementary intervention specialist, said volunteers ranged from children to professionals. 

We thought, hey, the kids are off school, maybe we can bring some kids in, get some teachers,” Albers-Houska said. “We have board members here; we have just random community members who are involved. The principal is currently going to change so she can start laying fence posts. We have master gardeners.” 

Multiple garden beds were built using plastic walling with stone corners. Cardboard was placed under the soil as a weed guard and to be more friendly for worms. Fruits and vegetables, including carrots and strawberries, have already been planted. 

Albers-Houska said the garden provides a way for kids to learn with their hands. 

We have a team of teachers at our school that are really into getting kids outside and learning and more engaged with their environment.” 

Teachers and staff throughout the building are looking at ways to have the garden become a part of their lesson plans. 

“We have science teachers who are hoping to use it. We have math teachers. We have English and reading teachers who are hoping to do, like, journaling and other things,” Albers-Houska said. “Our school counselor is out here so she’s hoping to use it for emotional regulation. … We have so many people who want to use it for everything.”