Soil Health for School Gardens Workshop Recap and Resources


Soil Health for School Garden Workshop Recap

Last month we held an in-person Garden Educator Network event in Redmond, our first in person network event in 2 years. This workshop was a collaboration, and funded in part through a grant from the National Association of Conservation Districts. Many school gardens were untended during the 2020 school closures, resulting in poor soil conditions. This workshop and the associated resources for educators and their school gardens were intended to provide both the informational and physical resources to improve their school garden soil and support their programming around it.

17 local teachers and educators joined us from 14 public and private schools from Redmond, Tumalo, Bend, Sisters, Sunriver and Prineville (plus a handful that opted to participate virtually). Collectively these teachers and their school gardens reach over 2,750 local students. After the workshop we walked over to the Step Up school garden where we worked together to cut back dead sunflower stalks and spread manure. Teachers left with a personal stipend, as well as cover crop seeds, 7 native plants and $200 to purchase soil amendments for their school garden.

Soil Health for School Gardens Virtual Presentations and Resources

For those that weren’t able to attend in person but would still like to glean some information, we have the shorter recorded presentations, a link to the slideshow presentation, and relevant resources. (Note, there are additional links and resources in the slideshow).

Recorded Presentations:

  • Four Principles of Soil Health (32 min presentation)
    • Hear from Erin Kilcullen with the Deschutes Soil & Water Conservation District about each principle, followed by me, Denise Rowcroft, with The Environmental Center’s Garden for Every School program, about what that looks like in a school garden space. (Slideshow PDF pages 1-17)
  • Soil Health & Native Plants (18 min presentation)
    • Listen to Basey Klopp, with Pollinator Pathway, to discover local keystone species, and why we need different shaped flowers in our gardens. (Slideshow PDF pages 18 – 24)
  • Engaging Students in Soil Health  (15 min presentation)
    • Learn from Kaci Rae Christopher, author of The School Garden Curriculum, about the ABC approach and sequencing ideas for all grade levels.  (Slideshow PDF pages  25 – 29)

Slideshow Presentation:

Printable Handouts:

Contact Information:

Denise Rowcroft
Garden for Every School Program with The Environmental Center

Erin Kilcullen
Deschutes Soil & Water Conservation District

Basey Klopp
Bend Pollinator Pathway

Kaci Rae Christopher
The School Garden Curriculum

Becca Phelps
Youth Education Program with The Environmental Center

Emma Zuber
Deschutes Soil & Water Conservation District Manure Exchange Program