Beverly Elementary students learn in community garden

The Inter-Mountain photo by Tim MacVean Beverly Elementary School students plant pumpkins and zinnia flowers Wednesday morning at a community garden located on Collett Street in Beverly. The project was made possible through grant funding from Dominion Energy.

BEVERLY — With the help of a grant from Dominion Energy, students at Beverly Elementary School have received a unique opportunity to learn about soil and gardening.

Kindergarten and fifth-grade students worked together Wednesday to plant pumpkins and zinnia flowers, and learn about soil at a community garden located on Collett Street in Beverly.

“Dominion Energy gave a donation to help purchase the supplies needed to start this project,” Samantha Norris, communication specials for Dominion Energy, said. “This donation was part of a larger initiative to give $75,000 to groups promoting environmental stewardship and education in the state of West Virginia, so we felt that this, as you are seeing today, was a great way to connect youth with nature.”

Lilly Norman, a fifth-grade student, said Beverly Heritage Center volunteer Linda Tracy taught them a lot about planting the pumpkins.

“Today we’ve basically just been planting pumpkins and (Tracy) showed us how deep to dig and how many to plant. It’s been really fun,” Norman said. “You normally just put it in with the stick, about an inch deep, then you wiggle it around, pop the seed in there, pinch it a little bit and cover it with dirt.”

She added she also learned that, depending on what you are growing, different types of soil work best.

“Pumpkins can’t really live around clay-induced dirt so we used lighter dirt that doesn’t have as much clay, which makes it so they can survive longer,” Norman said.

Norman said she is eager for the pumpkins to grow because she wants to see how they taste.

“I think I am going to try to eat one,” she said. “I’ve never really ate a pumpkin.”

Norris said she believes opportunities like these help students prepare for possible jobs in the future. She added each time Dominion Energy begins a project, they test soil and ensure the area is not an archaeological area.

“There is a demand for people that are passionate about dirt,” she said.

Other groups receiving funds through Dominion Energy’s initiative include Marlinton Community Park in Pocahontas County, New Vision Renewable Energy in Barbour County, Mineral County Alternative School in Mineral County, MountainHeart Community Services in Wyoming County, North Bend Rails to Trails Foundation in Wood County, Trinity Christian School in Monongalia County, West Virginia Conservation Awards Council in Marion County and West Virginia Association of Conservation Districts across the state.

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