Columbine Elementary’s New “Growing Dome” Greenhouse – a 21st Century Learning Center
Boulder community unites for hands-on, year-round garden education
Boulder, CO March 10, 2014 – On Friday students, parents and staff at Columbine Elementary are holding an “Open Greenhouse” – the first chance for the community to check out their recently constructed 33 foot-diameter geodesic Growing Dome Greenhouse. The new greenhouse is considered a pilot for BVSD schools, expanding their current Garden to Table program for year-round gardening and a hands-on learning center for students.
Installation and construction of the Growing Dome Greenhouse has been organized over the last five years by Columbine Elementary PTA volunteers and was made possible thanks to generous donations from Columbine Elementary families, staff and community members, as well as community partners including Whole Foods Market, Growing Spaces, ReSource Boulder, Maxwell Family Fund, Morningstar Homes, Skycastle Construction, Green Roofs of Colorado, Western Disposal, City of Boulder Family Resource Schools, BVSD Facilities, and more. What started as a design idea as part of Columbine’s remodel in 2012 has become a reality.
The Growing Dome was constructed the first four days of March by approximately 30 volunteers – parents, teachers, neighbors and community members, with two supervisors from the company that makes the geodesic domes, Growing Spaces. The greenhouse is designed to be off-grid – requiring no supplemental heating. It features a water tub that acts as a heat battery, with solar powered fans, waterfall, and also LED motion-sensor lighting thanks to Citizens for Clean Energy.
The pilot Greenhouse and Garden to Table collaborative programming is possible through a partnership with GrowingGardens and the Growe Foundation. The goals of the greenhouse project are to:
- Encourage children to seek, grow , prepare and eat nourishing, delicious, sustainably grown food
- Empower them to make choices that have a positive influence on their personal health, family, community and environment
- Create a more vibrant learning environment
Programs in the Greenhouse are free to students and taught by GrowingGardenseducators. Teachers are invited to sign up for classes which are aligned with grade level academic standards and complement lessons taught through the Growe Foundations’ Garden to Table Program. From learning about seeds, edible parts of plants to life cycles, aquaponics and gardening for health to greenhouse growing design and planting, the comprehensive Greenhouse education program is truly a 21st Century learning lab experience reaching approximately 500 students per year through school and after school programs.
“We are excited to offer year-round, hands-on gardening education and an outdoor learning center to our students,” says Micah Parkin, PTA board member and greenhouse project lead. “The greenhouse is an excellent way for students to see their academic learning from the classroom extended in the real word, connecting what they have learned in math, science and social students as they engage in greenhouse activities – and, they will have fun while doing it!”
To view more photos of the Columbine Elementary Growing Dome visit: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.535422156573232.1073741839.293762407405876&type=1
To learn more about the Columbine Elementary PTA go to: http://www.columbinepta.org/