Garden teaches kids about Alaska culture, sustainable living
Students at the Alaska Native Culture Charter School are building a garden with special significance.
The students installed a learning garden, doing all the work themselves. They built the beds and planted the seeds. Five of the beds hold plants native to Alaska’s five different regions.
School principal Bongi Agerter said it’s a good way to reflect the principles they instill in the students every day.
“We just wanted to make sure that every kid, every parent, every community member felt represented and they really felt like this is a traditional learning garden,” said Agerter.
The other beds will be planted with vegetables, like carrots and potatoes, tying in the school’s Culture Week when the students learn about sustainable living.
“Living off the land is a huge part of being an Alaska Native because the land provides for you,” Agerter explained.
The students will harvest their crop in the fall.
“We don’t have to go to the store, so we can just pick them up and take them to our lunch lady,” said second grader Tyler Griffin.
The school is working with the Alaska Botanical Garden on the project. Education specialist Patrick Ryan said it’s part of their efforts to reconnect kids with the land as part of their curriculum.
“You have math in the garden, you have P.E., physical exercise out here, there’s cultural things, there’s social studies in that,” Ryan said.
“The hands on part is so huge. It’s much more meaningful if they do it themselves,” Agerter said.
The learning garden was made possible by grants from the Alaska State Council for the Arts and Lowe’s.
The charter school is hoping Alaskans who travel to different parts of the state can bring native plants back to Anchorage to put in the boxes representing each region.
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