Kim Blakemore and Juli Hudson, Leschi Peace Garden and Forestry

“Our school has over 50% students on free or reduced lunch. Our community has many families surviving on food stamps alone. Sadly, our academic progress does not reflect the amazing contributions of our student and family community and instead of finding different ways of teaching core topics, our students are forced to stay in the classroom more and test more,” said Kim Blakemore founder of the Leschi Peace Garden.

Leschi’s Peace Garden offers alternative education with walks through the forest and garden education to give students a different way of learning core subjects. For example, students can learn about math and percentages through measuring a pea plant’s growth in the garden while they also learn about ecosystems by examining organisms in the forest. The students deserve opportunities to learn in a variety of ways, and this is the program that affords them the opportunity.

Outdoor education and environmental protection are important to Leschi’s youth and teachers, and Garden and forestry education are vehicles to teaching these important topics. Students enjoy learning through forest hikes, planting native plants, food tasting, and touching, smelling, planting, and harvesting. The children also enjoy tending to the garden, and seeing the cycles of life (both plant and animal) as the seasons change.

These types of programs are not often available at low income schools. Not only does Leschi’s Peace Garden teach environmental protection and food sustainability, they do it in a hands on, fun way, that encourages life skills and also helps to rejuvenate the health and well being of youth.

For more information, visit Leschi’s Peace Garden on their website.

GRANT AWARD DATE: December 9, 2015