Why recognize Action Heroes?
We are all influenced by our surroundings... and often too busy to go out of our way to eat healthy and be physically active. Healthy Shasta wants to recognize and celebrate those who make healthy eating and physical activity choices convenient, enjoyable, affordable, more enticing or easier for others.
Individual Adult Volunteer: Pam Bates
As a parent volunteer, Pam Bates is 'growing' the Bella Vista School garden program to provide hands on learning opportunities for students in science, agriculture, nutrition and problem solving. Pam coordinates lessons plans and volunteers to work with students in the garden - each student at Bella Vista completes a garden activity about every other week.
Students are proud of their hard work and 'eat up' the produce. Research shows that students who grow produce are more likely to eat it and many Bella Vista students have been inspired to start gardens at home with their families. Kids at Bella Vista get excited to try produce growing in their garden and have even developed garden based fundraisers (such as garden stepping stones and seeds gathered and packaged by students) to support the garden.
The Bella Vista school garden has been a model for other local schools. Recently the Shasta Farm and Food Coalition held a garden networking meeting there. Pam enjoys reaching out to involve parents, teachers and students in gardening activities. Pam is interested in connecting with others who coordinate school gardens to collaborate on seeking resources as well as to share ideas and challenges to learn together.
Why we like Pam:
Pam has accomplished a lot as a parent volunteer - from digging in the dirt to getting materials donated and researching curriculums. School gardens provide unique hands-on learning opportunities that are applicable to every grade level’s learning objectives, from writing skills to math and science. Research shows that children are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables when they grow them, which is good for obesity prevention and overall health.
Pam's tips for school gardens:
- Gain administration and teacher buy-in as a first step
- Adopt a proven garden curriculum at your school
- Volunteer to coordinate a school garden, work in the garden with you child's classroom, or join a garden club
- Look at other successful school gardens to get ideas - Schnell School in Placerville is one of Pam's favorites - and visit other school gardens before you stick a shovel in the ground
- Make it easy for teachers and school staff
- Visit websites, learn from others, ask questions, and meet people who can help you do it better
Sources of inspiration:
Pam enjoys sharing her love of science and gardening with the students - she says that it's fun to teach kids about something she's passionate about. Pam originally got involved as a volunteer in her child's classroom and began combining volunteering at school with her love of gardening. It's grown from there.