Great article in the Mohave Daily News



FORT MOHAVE — Academy of Building Industry students spent the past few months building a shade structure for the Camp Mohave Elementary School Garden Club.

The finishing touches on the structure were completed and the project was turned over to the Garden Club on Wednesday.

“It’s really cool we got to have this built,” said Nathan McShane, Camp Mohave Elementary School fifth-grader. “The best part is we get to have fun doing gardening.”

The shade structure encloses the school’s Garden Club beds, which provide lessons as well as herbs, vegetables and flowers for the elementary school students.

“We go out and look at the plants every day,” said Ashley Adams, Camp Mohave Elementary fifth-grade teacher and Garden Club adviser. “In addition to learning about growing plants and food, the garden is the springboard for class projects such as learning about habitats, insects, and specific plants.”

Enclosing the structure will help keep rabbits out of the garden and will extend the growing season, making the garden more productive, said Sheila Wyatt, Mohave Valley Elementary School District instructional coach and project originator.

“I was working at the school at the time I got the idea,” she said. “I wrote a couple of grants that we were lucky enough to get.”

The project was awarded a $1,000 McKillips Award, a $1,000 award from the Western Growers Foundation, as well as a Mohave Electric Cooperative Classroom Grant.

“With the grants, and some help from Home Depot, we could purchase the materials to build the structure,” Wyatt said. “(Camp Mohave Elementary) Principal John Laurent suggested contacting AOBI to build the structure. (AOBI principal) Jean Thomas liked the idea and pulled it together. Their help allowed us to build a larger structure.”

Ten AOBI students, along with Glenn Jessen, computer drafting instructor, created a plan, and once the weather cooled from the summer heat, began building the structure.

AOBI, 1547 Lipan Blvd., is a public charter high school geared toward the vocational trades.

“The kids did the work,” Jessen said. “They laid it out, dug holes, set posts, poured concrete, erected the framing and attached the lattice and shade cloth. It’s been a hands-on experience of construction.”

“The best part was interacting with other people,” said AOBI junior Chris Collins. “I really like that it will help the kids be able to plant food that will actually grow.”

Experiences like this one teach students more than they realize, Jessen said.

“It absolutely gives students real-world workforce experience,” he said. “Projects like this show them they can be responsible; show up on time, put in a full day’s work, and get a salary at the end of it.

“But they maybe don’t realize that the ability to make a drawing also gives them the ability to read a drawing. Having these skills allows them to put the pieces together at any stage in the process.”

“I like knowing we’re helping kids learn more about the plants they are growing, and that they are learning to respect where they are growing up,” said Taylor Read, AOBI senior.

The AOBI student construction crew previously worked together on a local Habitat for Humanity project.

“It’s almost the same crew,” Read said. “It’s great, and the results all benefit the town we grew up in.”

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