School garden teaching lessons to St. Louis students

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - They are taking the classroom outdoors at Dewey School in West St. Louis. It is part of a project that aims to educate city kids on their urban environment, particularly the benefits of urban gardening on both health and climate.

“The principles they learn in their science class and their biology class and their health class connect. So whether you’re talking academically or talking health and life style, the garden is a fabulous classroom,” says Millie Mattfeldt-Beeman, a leading researcher with the project.

Every Monday for the past several weeks, students at the school have exchanged their text books for garden tools as they nurture a vegetable garden in the most unlikely of places – the school’s playground.

The kids learn all about the good and bad insects that are in our gardens and how much water it takes to grow plants. There is also a tie-in to weather.

Cities cause what is known as an urban heat island. It is a localized warming of the air over a city because of all the asphalt and concrete.

“This empowers them (students) to be stewards in their community. They can go back out and plant gardens and help mitigate the heat island effects,” says SLU researcher Tim Eichler.

The urban heat island can be mitigated by adding more green vegetation which helps to lower the temperature says Eichler.​