Science and Technology

How does your garden grow?

Keister Photo Story 02

SUMMARY: JMU professor and students form gardening partnerships with Harrisonburg elementary schools.

Photos and story by Elise Trissel
From the December 2017 digital issue of

Students and their professor clearing out old plants from the elementary school garden.
Geographic Science professor Amy Goodall (right) started this garden at Keister Elementary School in 2012 with funding from JMU’s Department of Integrated Science and Technology and at the request of Anne Lintner, the school’s principal at the time. Lintner is now principal at Bluestone Elementary, which will be installing a garden soon. Current principal Julie Zook continues the garden relationship between Keister and the Geographic Science program.
cropped image of feet digging shovels into the ground.
Goodall’s students had wanted a garden to work in before they started this one at Keister. Since then, Geographic Science students have rebuilt the garden at Waterman Elementary School and helped create a new flower garden at Smithland Elementary School.
JMU student sitting beside an elementary school student, helping her dig with a hand trowel.
Goodall’s students work with the elementary-school students, introducing them to gardening and teaching them about healthy eating, plants, soils, insects and all that goes into caring for a garden.
Close up of a butterfly on a bright red zinnia while 5 JMU students are gathered in the garden in the distance.
Goodall’s students also do work and research in the gardens for their capstone projects in biogeography. Students create information sets for the elementary-school teachers about the garden, including identification and location of plants being grown, descriptions of when flowers bloom and fruits ripen, kinds of butterflies found there, and more.
Two JMU Students smiling, holding up a basket of freshly dug potatoes.
The fruits and vegetables are harvested in the summer and fall. The kitchen staff at Keister Elementary works hard to make sure the vegetables are consumed by as many students as possible. They served more than 100 students with the garden’s potatoes! They are still developing methods for making sure all Keister students get to eat the vegetables and fruits.

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Published: Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Last Updated: Monday, February 15, 2021

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