Hopewell United Methodist Church in Tyrone has engaged with students K-12 in various garden projects, supporting hands-on learning in a diversity of STEAM subjects. Most recently, in 2020, a collaborative, long-term Food Forest project was established, building a creative, flexible outdoor learning space that highlights sustainable agriculture. It features an orchard of fruit and nut trees, composting and irrigation. Through the project, Hopewell is connecting students and the community through service and learning. Community for Creativity STEAM students from Flat Rock Middle School have worked with Hopewell on raised bed projects, engaged in learning about permaculture and pollinator projects, and enjoyed a variety of project-based learning opportunities.
For a number of years, Hopewell and R.J. Burch Elementary have partnered, building a garden/outdoor classroom at the school. The garden includes raised beds for growing food, blueberry bushes, and a trellis garden with pollinator-friendly plants. In the perimeter of the raised beds, students can plant mini-gardens in the concrete block perimeter, growing vegetables, flowers and other small plants.
At Sandy Creek High School, chemistry, environmental science, and culinary arts classes have engaged with Hopewell’s gardens and volunteers in a variety of ways. Students have learned how to graft edible pear branches onto a Bradford pear tree, they have taken soil and water samples from the forest area to analyze back in the classroom lab, and they have learned how to grow fresh produce for use in culinary projects.