LINCOLN – A mix of about 125 grade- and high schoolers will gather Tuesday at Mattanawcook Academy to plant more than 100 premium Dutch flowering bulbs to beautify school grounds and integrate lessons taught in several classes.
As many as 100 pupils from Dr. Carl Troutt School in Mattawamkeag and Ella P. Burr School of Lincoln will work with about 25 MA students thanks to The Kids Growing with Dutch Bulbs Program, said Jolie Hatch, an educational technician overseeing the project.
“We are sending an invitation to the first and second grades at both schools,” Hatch said Wednesday. “They will get the education of how to plant fall bulbs, and the different [academy] classes have their own agendas that they will be working on separately.”
The idea, Hatch said, is to combine the outdoor learning environment with a hands-on project that mixes several educational studies or disciplines. For example, math class students will work on measuring techniques for the plantings, child development class students will work with the grade-schoolers, and science-class students will gain hands-on horticulture experience.
Some of the grade schools will take bulbs back with them for planting on their own school’s grounds, she said.
The project builds on work done by Hatch, who has an associate degree from the University of Maine at Orono in landscaping and nursery management, and other MA teachers to give students a hands-on, outdoor learning environment and practical experience in landscaping, horticulture, botany, general science, math, computer science, homemaking and other subjects.
Over the last several years, students designed and planted flower beds, trees and other floral displays at the entrance sign, in the circle, around the memorials dedicated to Medal of Honor winner Gary Gordon, the Dale Curry Field sign and school flagpole, plus hedges near the school baseball field backstop on the MA grounds, Hatch said.
And the school has a new, $4,700 sun shed the students assembled during the fall and spring, where more than $1,000 worth of plants are growing. All of the materials used, more than $6,000 worth, were paid for with grant money applied for by Hatch.
Academy Principal Jim Boothby wrote enthusiastically of the learning initiative in a letter to the Kids Growing program judges who selected Mattanawcook to be among 500 schools nationwide that were given 200 bulbs each for the project.
“We have committed to this program for the past five years, and with the addition of our new greenhouse, we plan on keeping this program continuing well into the future,” Boothby wrote.
“Fall is the perfect time for planting because the bulbs will hibernate or be dormant, and then in the spring they will start to grow,” Hatch said.