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Irving students team up to carry heavy bags of mulch for their new garden bedsAs the mission of the Pueblo School District 60 Education Foundation centers around enriching and improving the overall quality of life in our community through investments in educational programs, the Foundation annually awards grants to those teachers whose projects and/or educational concepts best reflect this.
One of those projects selected for funding is the brainchild of Irving educator Sherenna Shelhart Apana, with support from Stacey Marquez and Deanna Jones.
“We will be building several raised garden beds to help students connect to the food system and learn about the life cycles of plants while supplementing the school’s snack program,” Mrs. Shelhart Apana said. “We want them to start with seeding and progress all the way to eating the harvest."
The outdoor raised garden beds will complement hydroponic grow towers located inside the Irving cafeteria and a pollinator’s garden in front of the school, tended to by members of student council.
“I’m hoping the whole school can interact with the raised garden beds,” Mrs. Shelhart Apana continued. “I’ve been trying for four years to get stuff to get this garden started, so the ability to apply for the Foundation grant was a very nice opportunity. It’s really exciting.”
On Wednesday, under the supervision of Principal Jaime Schwab and Mrs. Shelhart Apana, members of Irving student council helped unload 40 bags of mulch, and the garden bed frames, with the assistance of Irving custodian Tony Saiz.
On hand to observe the happy occasion was D60 Education Vice-Chair Galen Santistevan-Feeback.
“The Foundation is very happy to be able to provide the funding for this,” Mr. Santistevan-Feeback said. “We’re glad they are doing this project and to see how happy these kids are is just fantastic.
“I’m glad to see this happening.”
It’s anticipated that the Irving garden -- which will be established in a grassy area near the school's playground -- will host seeds for a variety of vegetables.
In all, the D60 Education Foundation received 20 applications for project funding, with several grants already awarded.