McGilvra Garden

The McGilvra Garden is a place where students learn how to grow food, cultivate healthy soil, compost and recycle waste, and propagate native plants to ensure the survival of pollinator species. We practice organic gardening principles in order to protect the natural environment and promote habitat conservation. The McGilvra Garden Club welcomes teachers, students, and their families to become stewards of the garden, and help create inclusive outdoor learning opportunities for every member of the McGilvra community.

Garden Club Activities: Fall 2017 – Spring 2018

Garden Recess Program – Mondays 11:45am – 12:30pm (weather dependent)

We invite students and families to join our garden activities every week over Lunch Recess with grades K-5. Parents and younger siblings are always welcome! Parent volunteers need to sign in at the office during school hours, and must have their volunteer paperwork submitted prior to attending. The Garden Recess program encourages students to participate in all aspects of garden maintenance – planting, watering, digging, weeding, pruning, mulching, raking leaves, making compost, and fostering habitat for urban wildlife and beneficial insects. We are continuously studying how to grow and prepare healthy food, cultivate fertile soil, and protect the environment. Favorite student activities include harvesting seasonal produce, food tastings, hosting garden teas, and our wildly popular Ladybug Release each Spring. Most of all, we are cultivating smiles, laughter, cooperation, and a strong community spirit!

Garden Workshops – Held bi-weekly after school, usually on Wednesday or Friday afternoons (weather permitting). Activities include seasonal arts & crafts, planting projects, seed saving, soil building, composting, trellis making, habitat restoration, and food tastings! Please check the weekly Paw Print for updates and activity schedule.

Outdoor Classroom – In Spring 2017 the Garden Club installed a new outdoor classroom space that is available for teachers and students to use during school hours. This coming year, we are adding bench seating in the vegetable garden as well to enable more students and groups access our wonderful outdoor learning lab. The McGilvra Garden is a great place to sit, read, observe, sketch, study, and even make music!

Garden Rules For safety reasons, we ask that children be accompanied by an adult at all times when visiting the school garden. No climbing is allowed on any of the trees, fences, raised beds, tables, benches, stairs, arbor, or shed structures. We ask visitors to keep their feet on the ground, and please stay on the paths. To protect the birds and animals that call our garden habitat home, we ask that visitors speak in calm, quiet voices and not disturb the plants, trees, vegetation or souls. Please do not pick any flowers, fruits, or vegetables that are growing. No dogs or pets allowed in the garden, or on school grounds. Due to recurrent vandalism and theft, we keep the gates locked when the garden is not in use. The garden is closed on weekends and after normal business hours. Thank you for treading lightly!

About McGilvra Garden – The school garden was founded at McGilvra Elementary in 1995, by a group of parents and PTA members. The cinder block raised beds, the arbor gate, tool shed, and mosaic artwork were all built in 1995, and have been in active use ever since by various collaborations of students, parents, teachers, staff and alumni.

McGilvra Garden Club – Our garden is currently managed and maintained by the McGilvra Garden Club, a group of parent volunteers, students, and families who want to enrich the standard teaching curriculum with hands-on environmental studies and gardening knowledge in a beautiful outdoor setting. We are supported by a small annual budget from the McGilvra PTA, and by seasonal club fundraisers and community donations. In 2017, we received a generous donation from the Madison Park Community Council that funded the purchase of a much-needed dry storage shed. We operate on 100% volunteer basis, and always need more parents like you to help our garden program grow! If you’re interested in making a tax-deductible donation (in-kind or monetary), please contact the McGilvra Main Office for more information.

Garden Contact – If you’d like to join the garden club, or discuss opportunities to support, engage, or collaborate with the school garden, please contact the Garden Coordinator, Nori Hawkins. See the McGilvra Main Office for contact information.