February 2014
Youth Matters

Junior Master Gardener: Native Gardening

  Thomasville Elementary School’s 3rd grade students participating in the Junior Master Wildlife Gardener program are (from left, back row) Landen Fendley, Jackson Reid, Jackson Haskew, Matt Bradford, Drake Tolbert, Coleman Anderson, (front row) Katherine Ledkins, Ciarra Dobbins, Chloi Murphy, Luke Stephens and Trey Bucurel.

3rd Graders Find Ideal Spot for Garden

Thomasville Elementary School’s 3rd grade students in gifted education are participating in the Junior Master Wildlife Gardener program by working in the school’s garden. So far, the group has investigated the components of wildlife habitat and assessed the values of various locations on the school property as sites for native gardens.

Based on sun, food, water and soil, the school’s garden proved to be an excellent site for their studies. They tagged the elements in the garden itself. They looked for a water source, cover from predators, constant food supplies and a safe place to raise young.

They also pretended to be a native animal and decided whether they would, as that animal, choose to make a home in the garden or to move on elsewhere. The students were spiders, deer, raccoons, snakes, armadillos and insects. They all found the school’s garden needed a better water source to become a more ideal habitat location. Another finding was that larger animals such as deer would not want to raise young there because the area was too small.

The group plans to place plants in their garden to provide better food and shelter for native animals such as small mammals, birds, insects and reptiles. This will be an ongoing project being supervised by Meg Whitley, gifted education specialist with Thomasville City Schools.

The Junior Master Wildlife Gardner program is through The National Wildlife Federation and 4-H. It teaches about ecology and protecting native species of plants and animals. There are service components as well as academic components. The students will earn their certificates by the end of this semester.

Carolyn Drinkard is the Marketing/Communications Director for Thomasville City Schools.