Benton Elementary K Club works to improve school grounds

Tuesday, May 6, 2008 | 7:25 p.m. CDT; updated 5:12 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — Despite the threat of rain, members of the Benton Elementary School K Club began working on additions to the school’s outdoor classroom Tuesday night.

The K Club, which is in partnership with the Kiwanis Club and has 12 active student members, prepared ground for an herb garden, along with scraping paint off benches.

“A lot of kids don’t actually touch nature and get close to it,” said Betsy Blake, a conservation education consultant. “By gardening you can do that.”

Blake is helping Benton create the gardens with their outdoor classroom grant from the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Velma Johnson, Benton Elementary’s media specialist, wrote the outdoor classroom grant last year so that the school could receive $1,000 to be used towards outdoor activities with an educational component.

Most of the plants that are going to be in the garden are native to Missouri. Some of the plants are milkweed, butterfly weed, red buckeye, rattlesnake master, New England aster, columbine and coneflowers.

Once construction is complete at the school, K Club will help start up a butterfly garden. Johnson said she is also hoping that a reading nook will be created near this garden.

“I just think observing and being in nature is a good thing for kids,” Johnson said.

In addition to the gardens, the K Club is working to improve the appearance of benches located on the playground.

“This bench project is something the K Club kids thought of as a community service project to do for our school and improve the Benton grounds,” third grade teacher Kathleen Casper said.

Casper said that two K Club members, Mason Morris and Tyler Robinson, came up with the idea for the project. The benches will be painted pale yellow and decorated with scenes from the four seasons.

The K Club will be making bird feeders out of milk cartons, along with finishing these other projects, in the upcoming weeks.

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