Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College biology students this spring have joined with pupils from Arlie Boggs Elementary School, located in the Letcher County community of Eolia, in planting vegetable seeds as part of a community garden project between the two schools. A Girl Scout troop comprised of children who attend Arlie Boggs joined with students from SKCTC instructor Mathew Druen’s biology class in planting tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers and lettuce seeds. A college science class taught by Elana Scopa, along with Arlie Boggs’ students and under the direction of teacher Harry Collins, have re-potted cabbage, broccoli and caulifl ower from an earlier collaborative planting effort. Together, the elementary school and Southeast have taken the first steps toward a collaborative community garden.
As a project of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College’s Sustainability Committee, led locally by Professor Larry LaFollette, the community garden effort is meant to encourage students and the community to think about healthy food choices and cultivating nutritional produce. According to Scopa, “As a community college, we are constantly thinking of ways to involve our Southeast students with the communities in which we serve. Partnering with the students at Arlie Boggs allows my students the opportunity to interact with other students and share in a common goal of promoting good nutritional habits.” Druen noted. “I was both pleased and a little surprised how quickly my students and the students from Arlie Boggs engaged one another. There was a rapport among them I had hoped to see, but was not expecting it to happen so quickly.”
Tiffany Scott, PTO president for Arlie Boggs and Harry Collins a teacher at the school commented on what a “tremendous” collaborative project this is. Collins observed: “We are pleased to be part of the community garden project with Southeast. We have a greenhouse where our students can continue to watch over the plantings done by our students and the Southeast students; in the end, planting from seed saves both schools the expense of buying garden plants.”
Scott affirmed that it has worked out well for both schools. “Southeast’s Sustainability Committee provided the potting soil and the seeds for the project, while students from Arlie Boggs will tend the plants in the greenhouse; both schools will share the plants for transplanting. This truly is a community effort, one we can all take pride in.”
For additional information on Southeast’s Sustainability Community Garden program, contact Scott at 606.589.3198 or TSCOTT0024@kctcs.edu.