Some of the best ideas come from things we do every day.
Such as the one Poolville elementary school teacher Brenda Clements got one day.
She was looking out her classroom window at the familiar scene she'd seen many times. Then, an idea struck her: someone should do something to beautify that area.
"There is an area between buildings on the elementary campus and it was pretty pitiful-looking, but our students passed through it daily going and coming to the cafeteria in a different building," Clements said.
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She realized it was a perfect place for a courtyard-type garden area. From there the vision grew.
And now, Poolville elementary has an outdoor classroom, complete with a garden tended to by students, school personnel and adults throughout the community.
"Many of our teachers got on board with the idea," said Clements. "Once we received the grant from Lowe's and the Fort Worth Zoo, the vision grew even bigger."
The project, finished in the fall of 2014, features a garden that is L-shaped and about 40 yards long and 40 feet wide. It has both flowers and vegetables planted.
The outdoor classroom will hold about 40 people.
"In the spring we plant vegetables, and we have been planting perennials in the flower beds so they come back every year," said Clements. "This makes the work load a bit less. Since we mostly have teachers and parents working the garden time is important."
Clements said this has been a school project from the beginning. The students even helped move two dump-trucks of soil across the parking lot to the garden area with a few wheel barrows, along with some large vegetable cans obtained from the cafeteria.
"It looked little ants out here," she said. "The kids were saying, 'This is the best day of school we've ever had.'"
Also, members of the Adult and Teen Challenge program built the outdoor classroom, which features a large mural of a tree on the wall of a building.
The school district didn’t have to pay out money for the project since it was paid for by grants that were written. Clements said the district bought the dry erase boards for the outdoor classroom and paid to have the wood structure for the classroom treated.
And though it is an elementary school project, lots of folks want to be a part.
"The high school shop class cut and helped us out with the landscape timbers. We have plans in the future to work with the horticulture class from the high school," said Clements.
And no chemicals are used in the garden, making the veggies perfect for healthy meals.
"We eat it. The students, parents, teachers or staff take it home," said Clements.
Best of all, the project is something students can take pride in knowing they helped create.
"Pride in the garden has been a great asset to the students. The students that moved all that dirt still like to come and look at the garden process," said Clements.
"We have teacher that likes teaching outdoors. Just using the garden to do science lessons about plant identification makes the information more relevant, and who doesn’t like reading a good book outside?"
Clements also noted that research has proven that children learn better when they've been outside in the fresh air.
This is a permanent project, Clements said, noting that as time goes on other children will get to enjoy working in the garden and making their own impression. Families will also benefit for years to come.
"The garden isn’t going anywhere and just keeps getting better," she said. "We also use it as much as possible for Family Night functions."