Crestwood Elementary teacher Laura Juliana Urtubey partnered with Green Our Planet, and raised over 80,000 to create a sustainable outdoor garden.
The Garden Club meets before school every Friday, and with the help of a farmer, learn about the four full growing seasons in Las Vegas, multi-generational plants, native seeds, and how to weed, compost, and harvest.
This Club may meet before school – but students are enthusiastic and excited about their participation! They are also very informed.
Fourth Grader Isabelle Saylor said, “Compost is what we use to make better soil for plants.” 5th Grader Dahlia Beltrane chimed in about “The life cycle of a butterfly and how plants can help other animals and insects grow.” And her classmate Blanier Bojorquez told me that his “Favorite part is planting and watering plants and finding seeds.”
Students love enjoying food that they have grown.
Once they have a bountiful harvest, they’ll do a farmer’s market, or simply share their fresh food for donations, volunteer time, or, for free.
The garden is also a setting to teach real-world problem solving.
Their teacher and Garden Club leader, Laura Juliana Urtubey said, “We come out to the garden to make learning real so we multiply by counting leaves and math makes sense to them. They need outdoors, and to connect to nature, and in the Garden Club we have zero disciplinary issues – they’re great, hard working, and self-directed.”
For her dedicated work with the Garden Club, Urtubey recently received the Smith Center’s Heart of Education Award. Her students are not surprised.
Isabelle Saylor described her teaching style, “She is leading like a Mom with all these kids, and she is basically the best garden teacher ever!”
Urtubey deflected praise from the recent honor….”We do what we do out of the love for our community, the love for learning, the love for kids – so to be celebrated – is a cherry on top!”
It’s hard to measure just how meaningful this garden is to these kids the purpose it provides.
5th Grader Blanier Bojorquez sums up his experience, “I feel pretty good, and I always feel like I am a part of something important.”