Prince George's Co. elementary school gets outdoor classroom

- Students at a Prince George's County elementary school will have a brand new place to learn come Monday: a large outdoor garden set up to serve as a classroom.

A nonprofit called REAL School Gardens builds learning gardens in low-income schools, and selected Mary Harris 'Mother' Jones Elementary in Adelphi for its latest project.

Students and teachers were among about a hundred volunteers who worked on the garden Saturday, creating a space with seating areas, raised beds for flowers, herbs and vegetables, fruit trees, wildlife habitats, a weather station and a sculpture made from recycled bottles painted by students.

"After we build this garden today, we spend two years on campus training teachers to use it," said Jeanne McCarty, CEO of REAL School Gardens. "So we don’t just build the garden and leave, we’re here long term making sure it's successful."

The nonprofit partners with corporate sponsors to fund the projects. This latest one was funded by Kaiser Permanente and The Walmart Foundation.

"What I really love about this is most of my students live in apartments, and this gives them the space to begin that process of what it's like to cultivate your own land," said school principal Niki Newman-Brown.

This is the third outdoor classroom in Prince George's County. REAL School Gardens says it's planning to bring gardens to about six more schools in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

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