Nearly 150 fifth grade students at Champlin-Brooklyn Park Academy for Math and Environmental Sciences in Champlin, MN walked across the stage on June 6 to receive their certificates and pins to become certified Junior Master Gardeners. As part of the event, they presented a check for $500 to Crow Wing County Extension Master Gardeners to start a Junior Master Gardener (JMG) program in Brainerd. The donation came as a result of the students' JMG service project.
The Junior Master Gardener program was integrated into the Academy's fourth and fifth grade science curriculum several years ago. It is comprehensive. Over the two-year period, students complete all the requirements to become a certified Junior Master Gardener. Through classroom activities, teaching gardens, independent work assignments and service projects, students learn not only about plant science, but see the curriculum integrated into math, language arts and other subjects.
Since the school program began, Extension Master Gardeners from Anoka and Hennepin Counties have collaborated with teachers to assist in delivering Junior Master Gardener classes. Extension Master Gardener volunteers from Hennepin County currently conduct month classes with each of the five 4th grade and five 5th grade classes. To achieve the service project requirement for the program, students grew seedlings and created hanging flower baskets for a plant sale. A portion of the proceeds of the sale go to a charitable group. This year students wanted the donation to go to an organization starting a Junior Master Gardener program. They chose the Crow Wing County Extension Master Gardeners who are making plans to initiate a JMG program in 2015.
Crow Wing County Extension Master Gardener volunteers, Coralee Fox and Ken Lueken, traveled from Brainerd to Champlin to participate in the June 6 ceremony and to receive the donation presented by Denise Schnabel, curriculum integrator at the Academy.