LBJ gets grant to revive greenhouse

LBJ Elementary is working toward building its greenhouse back up.

Principal Zenovia Crier won a $1,451.25 grant from the Education Foundation to revive the greenhouse. The grant was titled “Greenhouse Effect.”

“The kids will be gardening themselves, fruits and vegetables and we’ll have them gardening outside, and then they’ll be able to take those fruits and vegetables home to their parents to enjoy them as a family,” Crier said.

“They’ll just have some they can make them salads, eat healthy. It’s an old greenhouse that was just kind of falling apart and we decided to refurbish it, and just put different things in the greenhouse — vegetables and show kids how to garden in a greenhouse so they can hopefully do it as an adult,” Crier said.

The students have started some work on it.

“Home Depot is bringing a lot of supplies, and they gave us some extra things, too. We had some donations from some parents, as well. They wanted to … chip in and help. The parents are actually trying to help with it as well. … The district, they went one step further. They’re putting grass out on our playground, so we’ll have a healthy area. The maintenance department, they’re grassing it out for us,” Crier said.

“There will be pools with plants and vegetables inside of it. We’re going to have all the plants and vegetables inside the greenhouse,” she added.

Every student will be able to experience the greenhouse. She said she will have people from her hometown in Louisiana come to show them how to plant crops using fish.

“You put the fish in the water and build it up from there, so the nutrients go through the animal and the plant in the water and it grows quite quickly. That’s how the Native Americans used to do it,” Crier said.

The campus also received another grant for $1,554 called “Fielding Concepts in a Native Way,” by teacher Evonne Marruffo. Crier said it is for a field trip to the Sibley Nature Center in Midland in April.

“What we’re trying to do is get kids to know that just because these are the walls of the campus, learning can go outside of the walls. With the greenhouse and with the field trip, they’ll be going to a site and seeing the different things that go on with the living world. They’ll take notes and do experiments,” Crier said.

The Education Foundation grant will pay for the buses and admission. The students also will be able to have lunch on the grounds.

The students will be able to explore with microscopes, magnifying glasses and dig.

“Again, just trying to show kids that learning goes beyond … the walls of the school. You can learn in almost any environment,” Crier said.

The field trip will impact about 200 students and the whole school, about 520 children in kindergarten through fifth grade, will be impacted by the greenhouse.

Crier said she would encourage other teachers and administrators to apply for Education Foundation grants.

“Money is tight and if (they) can get any extra to enhance learning, they should do it,” she added.

It took her about three hours to complete.

Three grants were applied for and they got two.

She added that Foundation Director Celeste Potter is very helpful.

“She’ll walk you through what you need. She encouraged me to apply for as many as you want and I did,” Crier said.

She agreed that the worst thing they can tell you is no.

“I’m used to being told no, so it doesn’t bother me; keep trying again,” Crier said.

Getting two out of three grants funded is a motivator. She’s trying to get other teachers on board.

“They’re already talking about applying for grants for next year and I tell them, it was an easy process,” Crier said.