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Third-grader spearheads Project Learning Garden at Walnut Creek Elementary

A dedication ceremony was attended by supporters from other states. Student, Chance Baber was recognized for his efforts
Posted at 6:51 PM, Sep 01, 2021

PAPILLION, Neb. — It was time to dig, plant, get dirty and learn at Walnut Creek Elementary school on Wednesday.

"I thought it would be cool if we could have a real garden and a fun activity for some of the younger kids. When you are in first and kindergarten we study life cycle with plants and stuff and I thought this would be an amazing opportunity. It's just all-out fun," said Chance Baber, a third-grader.

Chance did not know that when he brought the idea to his principal that she had already applied for a grant from the Captain Planet Foundation. This is the first and only school in the state of Nebraska to receive a grant for its community learning garden.

The idea is big enough to bring out national supporters flying in for this elementary school garden dedication. From as far away as California, a Dole Foods representative. "You guys have some favorites, carrots that's a good one," said Marty Ordman, a spokesperson for Dole Foods.

"Our mission is to get young people to be problem solvers of the planet and it looks like we are doing a good job with that," said Ashley Rouse, Director Project Learning Garden/Captain Planet Foundation, who traveled from Atlanta.

And from Des Moines, a regional Fareway Foods executive also paid the school a visit.

"It's good to know where your food comes from, how it is grown and all of the work that is involved in trying to get the food from the farm, to the store and to the table," said Jeff Stears, Vice President of Marketing, for Fareway Foods.

The guests were all impressed by the kids' efforts to bring learning to life.

"I have also seen students come alive with their leadership skills. We have students directing students where to plant things, what to harvest, what needs watering; things we would not typically see in a classroom environment," said Jaime Bizal, Principal of Walnut Creek Elementary.

Chance learned how to use those items they grew to make a salad as well as how to make his own dressing.

"I really like the Swiss chard and carrots. I like carrots. We made a special sauce. I can tell you what that is made of: red wine vinaigrette, some pineapple juice and then we added some olive oil, salt, pepper, then we shook that all up and it tasted absolutely amazing," added Chance.

Rouse says we need more kids like Chance in the world.

Chance was beaming with excitement, that the garden turned out amazing and it was "just the best. "