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Mary, Mary, How Does Your Garden Grow? With a Meemic Foundation Grant

There’s nothing contrary about the way Mary Whittet used her Meemic Foundation grant money at the Colt Early Childhood Center in Lansing, MI.

The fancy term is outdoor science area, but the garden Mary is creating will help her students for years to come.

Mary used her grant money to purchase shovels, hammers, nails, wood and seeds to build out the garden area and start planting seeds.

“These kids were so small and little and not very prepared when school began, and then to see them preparing the ground, using hammers and actually creating and planting was so exciting for me,” Mary said.  “I am so excited for them to return to school and see where they started from bare ground grew into a beautiful garden.”

Work began as school was winding up in May, and when the kids returned, they were able to see, well, the fruits of their labor. Storms had damaged some plantings, but there were still lessons to be learned.

“The kids will then see and measure the flowers and corn compared to the seeds they planted, and we will examine the plants and flowers and harvest the corn and potatoes and onions for soup,” Mary said. 

When Mary applied for her grant, she said she was also looking forward to the wildlife the garden would attract, so the area will fully serve the school’s science curriculum, as well as touch on other subjects.

“Our students will benefit from this grant by being able to create not only a habitat, but a work of art,” she wrote. “They will plant colorful wildflowers, they will hang birdfeeders on shepherds crooks, they will create wind chimes to add to the habitat. … Many of them have never seen a real butterfly.”

After receiving the grant, Mary knew she could create a fulfilling program for her students.

“I am a very out-of-the-box teacher, and most of my children live in apartments or townhomes and do not have the opportunity to watch something grow or create something with their own hands or even be outside for a significant amount of time,” she said. “I knew this grant was just what I needed to get my vision off the ground.”