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Uncategorized Apr 01, 2024

Celebrating New School Garden: Jumpstart Across the US!

It has been a whirlwind of activity at Big Green. In the past few months, Big Green staff has traveled to three cities Las Vegas, Savannah, and San Antonio, to kick off their Jumpstart programs. Grants include a full Learning Garden with raised beds, soil, and seeds and/or $2000 to help fire up and/or revitalize their garden programs. 

Viva Las Vegas schools! On February 10, 2024, 16 fantastic schools from the Clark County School District (CCSD) attended a huge workshop at Woolley Elementary to learn how to build their new gardens, explore the new resources and space for teaching. The event drew in many educators, which included students from Wolley’s garden club. Together they all helped build the garden beds, fill them with soil, and plant their very first seeds and seedlings. This being the beginning of their green and healthy adventure. This was a successful collaboration with CCSD and Green Our Planet, a Las Vegas based non-profit, that teaches students STEM, conservation, nutrition and entrepreneurship in a hands-on engaging way. 

All grantees are also participating in Green Our Planet’s Garden Connect curriculum and online Magic Garden Portal. A big part of this partnership is the culminating Giant Student Farmers Market on April 19 2024. At our Kick Off Event grantees all learned about the market and how their schools can participate. Big Green is looking forward to attending to support the event and celebrate all the growing happening in CCSD schools. 

A big round of applause and congratulations to the following Las Vegas schools that received the Big Green Jumpstart Grant: 

  • Capstone Christian Academy
  • Robert E. Lake Elementary School
  • Matt Kelly Elementary School
  • Frank F. Garside Junior High School
  • Addeliar Guy III Elementary School
  • James I. Gibson Elementary School 
  • Betsy Rhodes Elementary
  • Kenneth Divich Elementary School
  • Berkley Bunker
  • Glen Taylor Elementary
  • William and Mary Scherkenbach Elementary School
  • Manuel Cortez ES
  • Ernest May Elementary School
  • Lincoln Elementary SchoolHerbert Derfelt Elementary 
  • Gwendolyn Woolley Elementary

Next we were off to San Antonio, Texas. On February 24, 2024 Gardopia Gardens, San Antonio Independent School District (SAISC), and Big Green collaborated in a Learning Garden Kick Off event with 22 local schools. The event was hosted by Madison Elementary, one of 7 schools receiving a Learning Garden raised bed kit along with the $2000 Jumpstart grant. Many educators from SAISC were able to get their hands dirty and gain hands-on experience on gardening and ideas on how to lead their own garden activities. According to SAISC this is a grand opportunity for students to work together. Stephen Lucke, Chief Executive Officer of Gardopia Gardens expressed that, “this initiative is not just an investment in school gardens; it’s an investment in our children’s health, education, and the environment.”

Congratulations and great round of applause for the following San Antonio recipients of the Big Green Jumpstart Grant: 

  • Ed White (North East District, not SAISD)
  • Franklin ElementaryJames Madison ES
  • S. J. Davis Middle School
  • James Madison ES
  • Smith Elementary 
  • Woodrow Wilson Elementary
  • Young Women’s Leadership Academy (Secondary)
  • Baskin Elementary School
  • Booker T. Washington Elementary
  • Cotton Academy
  • Herff Elementary, SAISD
  • Sam Houston High School
  • Samuel L. Maverick Elementary
  • JT Brackenridge Elementary
  • Charles A. Arnold Elementary
  • John Greenleaf Whittier Middle School
  • Dorie Miller Elementary
  • Twain dual language academy
  • Bonham Academy 
  • Democracy Prep at the Stewart Campus
  • Young Men’s Leadership Academy
  • YWLA Primary

Our last events of this grant season were on March 2, 2024 when the Big Green team traveled to Savannah, Georgia for 2 very exciting events. In collaboration with Loop It Up, 14 local schools in the Savannah Chatham County Public School System were granted Learning Gardens and $2000 Jumpstart grants and 7 additional schools were awarded grants without gardens. In the second event 10 Savannah Early Childhood Education (ECE) centers who were granted the Big Green Jumpstart grant and Learning Gardens attended our workshop at West Broad Street YMCA. (Big thanks to West Broad Y who is also a Big Green DAO member). Both events offered teachers, school and district staff, volunteers, and families hands-on opportunities to assemble and plant their gardens, and experience lessons that can be used to bring the gardens to life with students. 


Special shout out to our partners Loop It Up Savannah and Green Our Planet who presented about the resources they are making available to support SCCPSS schools.

Congratulations and a great round of applause to the following Savannah ECE schools that received Big Green Jumpstart grant: 

  • West Broad Street YMCA
  • Hodge Memorial Day Care Center
  • Economic Opportunity for Savannah-Chatham County Area, Inc.
  • West Chatham YMCA
  • Habersham YMCA Child Care Center
  • Kicklighter Resource Center, Inc
  • W.W. Law
  • Greenbriar Infant Center
  • Windy’s Preschool
  • AB Williams
  • Forney
  • Gadsden Elementary School
  • Georgetown K8
  • Haven
  • Hodge
  • Isle of Hope K8
  • JHC Butler Elementary School
  • Le Roy Myers Middle School
  • Pulaski
  • School of Humanities at Juliette Lowes
  • Savannah High School of Liberal Arts
  • Southwest Elementary School
  • Southwest Middle School
  • Shuman
  • Woodville Tompkins
  • Heard Elementary School
  • Marsh Point

Each of these cities had events that were energizing and inspiring. The attendees got to experience educational workshops, learned to build garden beds, how to fill the bed with soil, how to install irrigation systems, and how to plant their first seeds/seedlings. In a couple of months they will be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor. After enjoying a great lunch all the attendees were able to walk away with a beautiful learning experience and lots of resources to continue their gardening journey. 

For more information about Big Green’s Jumpstart Grant Program and our partners, please visit