“Over the years we have received some grants for things like our gardening beds and a greenhouse,” said Bernard, who teaches third grade. “So when my principal asked if I was interested in applying for this grant, I said yes.”
The grant is called the Green + 1 Challenge, and is funded by the Synopsys Outreach Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports students and teachers in their efforts to develop science projects. Awarded to just 10 schools throughout the state, the $2,000 grant is presented each year to programs designed to make a positive and measurable impact on the environment.
This year Timber Point was one of the schools chosen from a field of more than 100 entries. The proposals were reviewed by a panel of judges from UC Berkeley, Our City Forest in San Jose and the Environmental Defense Fund. Bernard said she was “thrilled and honored” to have been selected.
According to Synopsys President Ross Robinson, “Our judges had a difficult time choosing the winning recipients because we received so many excellent entries from across California. The grant to Timber Point will provide a terrific ‘green’ experience for the students and make a measurable impact on the environment.”
And the work has already begun. Expecting the first installment of the grant to arrive by September, Bernard has contacted local nurseries to see what types of flowers and vegetables can be planted in the fall.
“By the time school starts up again we will already be well on our way,” said Bernard, whose project will include kindergarten through fifth grade, with a future eye toward including the preschool community as well. “I think we’ll probably begin with topping off the organic soils we already have in our gardening boxes and taking it from there. We’re going to be teaching the kids about organic gardening, soil testing, composting and then help them really get into growing the produce.”
The end result, said Bernard, will be to open a mini farmers’ market on campus where the school community and public can purchase freshly grown, organic produce and flowers.
“The kids are really, really excited,” said Bernard. “They just want to know when we can start. I think it’s going to be a really fun project.”