Turner, Monmouth students help out with RCAM gardening program

LEEDS — Two area schools helped out with Rural Community Action Ministry’s yearly gardening program, which provides seeds, seedlings, rototilling and gardening how-to services and food preservation for residents experiencing financial hardship in 14 central Maine communities.
Students from Monmouth’s Cottrell Elementary School and Turner’s Tripp Middle School dug in and got their hands dirty to help out with seedlings. The students were enthusiastic about supplying the people power to help the seedlings thrive.
At Cottrell Elementary, teacher Joel Balano Stott oversaw the project, in which every child from pre-K to third grade plants a six-pack of vegetable seeds, setting up in the hallways or classrooms where conditions are best to help the seeds flourish.
Stott asked each student to tell him what they think plants need to grow. They learned the keys to success are soil, seeds, sunlight, water and warmth. The kids enjoyed getting their hands in the dirt and finished planting with smiles on their faces. The six-packs were taken to the school’s donated greenhouse, where several third graders watered them until they were ready for distribution.
The children from Tripp Middle School, under the tutelage of teachers Katie Sealy, Lisa Buie and Kathy Woodward, do all the planting and growing of the herb seedlings in their classroom. The kids tend the seedlings set up under the lights and in window spaces, watching their work grow. In order to allow the plants to get the most out of their window light, the students rotate the six-packs every day.
The students at both schools come away with a little knowledge of basic gardening and a sense of giving back to their communities through their efforts. To contact RCAM, located at 81 Church Hill Road, call 207-524-5095.

PHOTO: Teacher Katie Sealy, center, is flanked by teachers Lisa Buie and Kathy Woodward, who worked with students from Tripp Middle School in Turner on the seedling project. Students from Cottrell Elementary in Monmouth also took part. (Submitted photo)