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Education and the environment

April is a month dedicated to appreciating the planet, and classes usually have a corresponding lesson plan highlighting the environment. While it is important to recognize the planet around Earth Day, Collierville classes celebrate the environment all year round. This year, CEF granted two unique requests that encourage students to think deeper about caring for the Earth.

Thanks to their brand new AquaSprouts kits, West Collierville Middle School students get an up-close look at aquaponics. Aquaponics is a form of agriculture that combines raising fish in tanks with soilless plant culture. Through this alternative form of farming, students grow strawberries, pomegranates and various herbs in the classroom. When their produce is ripe, students participate in a farmer’s market, where they sell their fruits and herbs to teachers and staff. This project teaches students the value of farming while also giving them experience as entrepreneurs.

Tara Oaks Elementary implements a similar project with its school garden, where students learn all about gardening techniques, different types of plants and botany. The schoolwide goal is to give students a safe space to learn about gardening. This past grant cycle, CEF provided raised garden beds to help lengthen the life cycle of the plants in the garden and as a safer way for students to handle plants. Raised beds prevent splinters and keep students from sitting on the cold ground while gardening during winter months. The new beds help students grow healthy, nutritious food and flowers while also using problem-solving and social skills. Working together to cultivate the garden gives them the chance to relate to their peers and discuss the growth while learning about the planet.

Gardening and agriculture aren’t subjects often taught in schools, but in Collierville, these classes help students grow to their full potential. Working in the environment has its benefits not only for the land but also students. Planting and farming give students a sense of responsibility as they watch a seed grow into a plant and could spark interest for future career opportunities. Communication and collaborative skills are enhanced as they work together to farm produce.

Providing grants to inspire kids about the future is what CEF is all about. Visit our blog to learn more about grants we have provided to enrich Collierville Schools.


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