Welcome to Our Garden
PKI students take gardening to a new level
Thanks to some hard working students and parents, a dedicated teacher, a supportive school staff, and enthusiastic community members, there is a safe haven for turtles, birds, butterflies, and fish in the midst of Pine Knot Intermediate School.
With lots of labor and love, the Pine Knot Intermediate (PKI) Garden Club transformed the school’s amphitheater area from a drab, unused section of the school to a remarkable garden and wildlife habitat. The area now serves as an outdoor classroom and calming green space for the children and adults.
Under the guidance of teacher Kristen Phillips, the students are successfully growing fruits and vegetables including strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, corn, cabbage, potatoes, onions, lettuce, watermelon, squash, tomatoes, and apple trees.
Students and their parents painted the seating areas of the amphitheater with bright colors and incorporated a cozy reading corner in one section of the garden. An attractive butterfly garden is filled with butterfly-attracting plants with stepping stones running down the middle of the flowers so students can get a close up view of visiting butterflies. The birdwatching area contains various feeders and birdhouses. Much to the delight of children and adults, birds, including blue birds, nest and feed in the garden. A small waterfall trickles down into the fish pond, and the turtle area has sand nearby for nesting.
Beginning in March, students worked on the garden after school hours and have made remarkable progress since beginning the project just three months ago.
Financial assistance and materials for the garden came from a variety of sources including grants and donations from the community. Grow Appalachia made raised beds, and parents helped with painting the amphitheater seating and murals. The McCreary County Extension Agency involved the students in gardening lessons at least one or two times per month. Students who joined the PKI Gardening Club were each required to write a two page essay about the importance of gardening before being allowed to join the club.
Phillips is brimming over with ideas for future expansion of the garden-including development of a school farmers’ market. Students are looking forward to a “baked potato” event when their potatoes are ready to harvest, and there are plans for a school picnic in the garden as a fun way to close a successful school year.