Rio Grande Valley, Texas – IDEA Public Schools is excited to announce an online after-school Junior Master Gardener program for all grade levels at IDEA Public Schools that began on Wednesday, September 16. As an added bonus, students in grades 3rd through 8th who successfully complete the program will be eligible to become a Certified Junior Master Gardener and receive a certificate at the end of the school year.
IDEA’s Junior Master Gardener (JMG) program is an international youth gardening program offered through Texas A&M Agrilife Extension that engages children in hands-on group and individual learning experiences that provide a love of gardening, develop an appreciation for the environment, and cultivate the mind. JMG also inspires youths to be of service to others through service learning and leadership development projects and rewards them with certification and recognition.
“We are trying to change food culture in the Rio Grande Valley,” says Hernan Colmenero, IDEA’s Child Nutrition Program Farm Manager. “We want students to think twice about the environment, where their food comes from, how it is grown, and why proper nutrition is essential to staying healthy for life. Since students are the next generation of consumers, we want our Junior Master Gardeners program to have lasting effects in our community.”
Students will also develop critical thinking skills, the ability to identify community concerns, and take action to address them through individual group projects.
Classes will be hosted on Microsoft Teams each Wednesday from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. central time. During each session, students will participate in online learning videos and activities that explore plant life cycles and are encouraged to get involved in exploring their world through fun activities that support personal pride, responsibility, and community involvement.
A live interview and guided activity or experiment will occur each session and participants will have the opportunity to collaborate with other IDEA students, recreate the lesson activity or experiment at home, and ask farmers any questions during the entire session.
To learn more about IDEA Public Schools or the Junior Master Gardner program, please visit www.ideapublicschools.org.