By Kyle Lovern
Who would have thought that you could make colorful planters out of old throw away tires? That is just what happened at a business in downtown Williamson, which got several youngsters involved.
Living Water Childcare recently completed the special gardening project via a collaborative effort with several organizations and individuals.
The local daycare, with Director Jackie Branch, along with Thomas Taylor owner of Mountain State Tire Processing, Maria Arnott local food coordinator at the Mingo County Diabetes Coalition, Angela Fisher from Tug Valley High School Agriculture Program and Arlene Starr, a retired school teacher, beekeeper and farmer with the Williamson Farmer’s Market combined efforts for the colorful project.
The Living Water Childcare received a $400 grant to cover soil, plants, gardening pots, shovels, seeds, and a food tasting party from the Department of Education Office of Child Nutrition.
Starr taught the children a lesson on honeybees and gave them coloring books which included bee facts.
Taylor generously donated over 30 tires for the children to assemble three pyramids, two frogs and one ladybug to make the unique planters.
Fisher donated flowers and other garden plants that the children used to spruce up the daycare flower garden. She was also very helpful in teaching the children how to properly plant and care for their plants.
Arnott helped collaborate with local farmers and with the gardening.
Each child was also given the opportunity to take a seed home to encourage their family to help it grow. This is in hopes to encourage more ‘at home’ gardening, according to Branch.
Branch was the coordinator for the health and wellness gardening project. She arranged all of the necessary supplies and the tasting party which included a salad bar with numerous fresh from the garden fruits and vegetables for the children to try.
“The children are participating in a ‘Two Bites Club’ sponsored by the USDA which encourages children to try two bites of a new food,” Branch said.
Branch is hoping that by encouraging the gardening and new tasting experiences children will develop healthy eating habits. This has also served as an educational experience as the children have cared for their own crops and enjoyed them by having them for their lunch table.
“It’s always exciting to check the frogs and ladybugs for their harvest,” Branch said.
(Kyle Lovern is the Sports Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 304-235-4242, ext. 33 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)