Students at Springhill Elementary in Greenbrier have had the chance to work with the Arkansas Master Gardening Program this spring.

The school’s gardening club, along with the program’s Sandra Nadelson, have been given the opportunity to both design and create landscaping in the entryway area.

“Students conducted research on what plants would work best in the area and then were able to plant them,” Springhill’s Alison Fett said.

Principal Stephanie Worthey told the Log Cabin Democrat that Nadelson lives in the neighborhood next to Springhill. She said a teacher approached the gardener and asked if she would be interested in helping.

“The children have learned a lot about plants and landscaping including what is in soil, the importance of water, air and nutrients,” Nadelson said. “We also discussed using edible plants as part of landscaping.”

She said they also included blueberry bushes and sweet potato plants in the design.

“The kids were excited when they found out they could actually eat what was growing on the two blueberry bushes,” the gardener said. “I also mentioned that birds [or] other animals would [also] be interested in eating them if we did not eat them.”

Nadelson said she thought that, on a “scientific level,” the group at Springhill — a total of 12, eaching having to fill out an application to be in the club in the first place — learned a lot about group work and helping add beauty to the environment through hard work.

“They helped gather and stacked the rocks we used as a border and collaborated in designing the area,” she said. “We also spoke about symmetry and how this influences beauty. I think contemplating beauty and design is important to appreciate.”

Nadelson said it’s unfortunate, but many children in this day and age, don’t understand where their food comes from, that plants produce much of the food around us and the importance of a healthy environment for plants to thrive in.

“They believe the source of fruits and vegetables is the store,” she said. “I think the basic knowledge of where food sources can help them learn more about processed foods and why simple foods might be better.

Through the garden project, Nadelson said she believes the children were able to connect with the earth and plants.

“We planted seeds,” she said. “They could choose what to grow. Most chose dwarf sunflower plant seeds to plant. A few chose blue fescue grass.”

Throughout the process, the children realized that there are many steps to go from a seed to a flowering plant and how it takes time, the master gardener said.

“This has given them an added appreciation for people who grow plants such as farmers,” Nadelson said. “They are quite attached to their plants. They have named them. The kids took them home last week to care for on their own … so cute.”