A $3,000 grant from Dominion Energy will support innovative environmental education at Stonehouse Elementary School.
The funds will be used to renovate and refurbish the school’s Learning Garden and Outdoor Classroom so that students can study the garden as a habitat for native plants, herbs and vegetables.
“We want to develop lesson plans that will make it very easy for teachers at all grade levels to use the garden for educational purposes,” said Ralph Charlton, the volunteer garden coordinator for the Stonehouse PTA.
He said the school will partner with the Colonial Soil and Water Conservation District, which provides technical and educational assistance throughout the year with a focus on conservation. CSWCD installed rain barrels in the garden along with other forms of support to connect students with the environment.
According to Charlton, the students enjoy planting, weeding and harvesting all types of fresh produce grown in the school’s 500-square-foot vegetable garden.
“We’ve had collards, cabbage, kale, bok choy, tomatoes and squash and other veggies,” he said.
The native plant garden is even larger, boasting 2,500 square feet of plants that are indigenous to Virginia.
“Thanks to this generous grant from the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation, all 700-plus students at Stonehouse Elementary will have the opportunity for a memorable hands-on experience in the garden during the 2018-2019 academic year,” Charlton said.
For more information on Dominion Energy's Environmental Education and Stewardship grants, visit dominionenergy.com.