Educator uses gardening to help students appreciate the environment

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Seatack Elementary is using gardening to teach its students a lot of important lessons about the environment and in the process, helping them with their grades.

Fifth grader Maximus Ramirezhuezo remembers helping with the planting on the school grounds back when he was in kindergarten, and he now sees how the plants have really taken off.

"I feel very proud of myself because I know I helped with this garden and I made it successful," Ramirezhuezo explained.

He and a handful of other students are part of Seatack Elementary's Garden Breakfast Club. 10-year-old Justin Harden loves it.

"Because it's very relaxing. Like, you get to come out here and here all the birds and get to see all the little ants, insects come through the garden and it's just cool to see that!" he said.

They want others to see their hard work, too! That's why they recently invited others, like environmental science students from Salem High, to check out the various gardens around Seatack Elementary.

Justin says it's more than just gardening.

"Yes it is teaching me a lot. Like, it's teaching me how to be more calm and focused because before this, everything was stressful," Justin said.

Another fifth grader, Aarien Brewer, agrees.

"On like test days when we come out here, I'm like, 'I'm ready for this test.' As soon as I come in, OK, then I ace it! I'm like, 'Yes! I love this garden!'"

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The school has a number of eco-friendly activities. They have "Water and Weeding Wednesdays" for students and families to come in and help maintain the gardens - gardens that include food they can actually take home and eat, including lettuce, strawberries and kale.

Marie Culver is the driving force behind the gardens. She's a gifted resource teacher at the school and huge proponent of exposing the kids to the benefits of protecting and enjoying nature.

For those reasons, News 3 presented her with a People Taking Action award and a $300 Visa gift card from our community partner, Southern Bank!

Marie says the school will make sure to put that gift card to good use.

Do you know someone who's worthy of a People Taking Action award? Click here to nominate them! 

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