Webster Student Garden Clubs Get Growing

A few weeks from now, Webster fifth graders in the new Gardening Club will be harvesting their first crop of lettuce, which is now growing in hydroponic towers.

The fifth graders have been working with the plants for the past few weeks and a club for fourth graders began recently, with plans to roll out gardening opportunities for grades two and three in the next two months.

The project is part of Mercy University’s WIPRO education program enriching students’ STEM learning. 

“So many students have shown interest that we’ve had to select students using a lottery system,” said Kathleen Coyne. Coyne is the magnet facilitator and math coach who is coordinating the club alongside grade five teacher Sandra Galano, grade four teacher Melissa Landau, and grade three teacher Samantha Eisenberg. Johanna Vasquez, a math coach from Trinity School, is working with the team as WIPRO mentor.

Other than lettuce, club members will be growing strawberries, kale, spinach, and beans. “Each grade has a different plant and slightly different lesson focus, based on grade level science standards, and everything but the beans will be grown hydroponically,” said Mrs. Coyne.

Hydroponic gardening involves growing plants using a water-based nutrient solution rather than soil. 

Students are meeting about once a week for lunchtime lessons, in addition to weekly check-ins on plant growth The plan is for students to share the harvest with other students via intermittent “farmer’s markets”. 

Watch out for Webster’s Annual Fit Fair at the end of May when a farmer’s market will showcase the vegetables grown during the lunchtime gardening clubs.