May 2012: Daly School Garden – Learning by Example

Elementary school kids in Port Washington, New York are in for a spring treat. Two rainwater HOG tanks were installed this May to water the John J. Daly Elementary School’s edible garden tended by students in third through fifth grade.

“It is a great upgrade for our garden and, most importantly, our kids,” said Principal Drew Graves.

The four-year-old garden is one of five school gardens in the Port Washington District, but it is the only one harvesting rainwater.

HOG tanks were landscape designer Mark Scaramucci of Permascape Designs‘ first choice for the Daly School rainwater catchment system. He needed 100 gallons of water storage to fit into a slim space, and the modular design of the HOGs made it possible for him to install two tanks, vertically, side by side. The green-minded Port Washington Facilities Director upcycled old wooden bleachers from the high school for the structure housing the tanks.
Mindy Germain is involved with sustainable projects, including the Daly School garden, in the area as Executive Director for Residents For A More Beautiful Port Washington and co-chair of the Daly Green Committee.  She says, “I liked [the HOG tank] not only for its technical purpose, but also for its innovative design that I thought the kids would connect with. At that age the “cool factor” weighs in on personal connection.”

Mark also notes that the HOG tanks are made of food-grade material, “so there are no worries about watering food-producing gardens.” The kids are growing lettuce, kale, radishes, string beans, and herbs in their garden. They learn organic gardening, water conservation, and composting. The two HOGs harvest approximately 175 gallons of water annually. Not to mention the kids connect with nature and get a tasty introduction to eating locally.

As Mindy says, “Kids learn that eating healthy from the garden can be delicious.”

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