How to Grow a Greener School!
I come from a long line of small family farmers working the soil in New Jersey.
My dad’s mother grew up on a farm in western New Jersey. In the 1940’s, my grandmother and her sisters worked the farm, picking tomatoes that were sold to Campbell’s Soup Company in Camden, NJ. My dad and his sister spent their summers with their cousins on their grandmother’s farm.
My mother grew up on a small family farm in southern New Jersey. When I was young, I loved looking at the black and white photos of her as a young girl helping out on the farm. The children all helped pick crops for Saturday’s market in Atlantic City and my mom’s job as a young girl was to sit in the dirt in the row in the field with a big ball of string and a knife and bunch parsley and dill. She would also help her mom pick and bunch zinnia flowers to sell. No doubt that her hands-on experiences on the farm as a young girl helped cultivate one of my mother’s greatest gifts and passions – gardening. Some of the lessons she learned– like the important role composting plays in a healthy, sustainable garden – have strengthened her ability to get anything to grow in her garden, coaxing plants into vitality. Her gardens are a riot of color that draw all sorts of wildlife, especially butterflies and hummingbirds.
While I know far fewer children grow up today in farming communities, I believe it’s still critical to provide opportunities for young people to learn about the earth, fostering an appreciation for growing and nurturing plants and teaching children sustainability-related practices. Even in my 2-year old son Michael’s classroom, the children plant zinnia seeds and learn what plants need to grow (soil, sun, and water) as well as learn the different types of flowers, plants, and trees. In their lifetime, these lessons are going to be critical as the world’s resources are increasingly put to the test.
It’s for this reason that FedEx is sponsoring the EarthSmart “Grow a Greener School” contest. I encourage everyone to go to the Pinterest page and read about and vote for these fun and innovative programs that schools around the country are implementing with their students. You don’t have to have a personal tie to the school to vote for the project – pick the one that you feel inspires you!
FedEx has a simple goal: to connect the world in responsible and resourceful ways. We’re proud to be working with schools to bring this vision to life for future generations through the FedEx Grow a Greener School contest.
Do you know a school that makes the eco-friendly honor roll? FedEx is launching the Grow a Greener School Contest to help give teachers, students and parents the resources to create hands-on sustainability projects at their school.
Inspired by the FedEx EarthSmart Outreach urban conservation projects led by FedEx volunteers and supported by National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, FedEx is offering all U.S. schools the opportunity to enter for a chance to win one of three grants (valued at $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000) to help complete their school’s green initiatives.
From kindergarten to college, all schools are eligible for the grant contest. Projects are encouraged to be sustainable and creative – whether it’s installing an alternative energy source, such as a solar panel, planting a rain garden to drain storm water run-off, creating a school composting program, or even developing a learning garden, like the EarthSmart Outreach project FedEx volunteers helped complete in Dallas (video).
A short entry form, along with the official rules, can be found visiting the contest page. Project submissions will be collected until noon CDT on May 24th. The public voting period will run from May 25th through May 31st on the FedEx Pinterest board.
We’re excited to see all of the sustainable – and creative – projects, and look forward to helping educators and students across the country Grow a Greener School!