Gardening for a good cause

Riley, a student of Penny McDermott’s fourth-grade class, shows off an odd-looking carrot he pulled from the ground during the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse and School Garden final harvest on Oct. 4. (Photos by Stephanie Blair)

Sam Case fourth-graders harvest for local food bank

Twenty-eight students from Sam Case Elementary had the opportunity to get some education and sunshine while giving to a great cause on Friday, Oct. 4. That morning, Penny McDermott’s fourth grade class hiked from Sam Case to the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, bundled up for rain — which luckily didn’t come — and ready to get their hands dirty, literally.

Michael Christy, mentor and coordinator of the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse and School Garden, said that his favorite part of the event is, in short, all of it.

“The larger engagements of planting at the lighthouse and the final harvest are the biggest joy as you get to see all the players interact, kids and volunteers, and more smiles in one place than in most lifetimes,” said Christy.

The students were divided into groups, which took turns touring the lighthouse and learning about daily life there with Oregon State Park Ranger Luke Parsons, learning about nutrition and building vegetable vehicles at the lunch tables and pulling vegetables in the garden.

The vegetables students pulled from the garden were planted from seeds by last year’s fourth grade class in April. On Friday, this year’s students were able to learn about the various vegetables they were pulling up and volunteers even invited the kids to try edible leaves and small samples of the harvest.

As the elementary schoolers got into the swing of things, they became more and more focused, pulling carrots, green onions, potatoes, herbs, tomatoes and beets with precision and pride. By the end of the work session, 130 pounds of produce had been plucked from the ground and washed, all ready for donation to the Food Share of Lincoln County.

“You can take heart that the food delivered today will be on the table for our local families on Monday,” Christy wrote to volunteers after the event.

Love to garden and can't wait to share your experiences? Always wanted to learn more about the art or science of gardening? The Oregon State University Extension invites you to become a Lincoln County Master Gardener volunteer.

Registration is open until the end of December, classes start mid-January. Class size is limited so register early to ensure a spot. To apply, visit: extension.oregonstate.edu/mg/lincoln/become-master-gardener or contact Pami Monnette, Program Coordinator at 541-283-5119 or [email protected]

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