Sooke Elementary kindergarteners Charlotte Thorne (front left) and Grayson Purvis and expanding the native plant garden on their school property thanks to the help of Gr. 5 student Jace Ferris (back left), Gr. 4/5 teacher Marion Stupich and Kindergarten teacher Lisa Maria Schlosser. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

Sooke Elementary kindergarteners Charlotte Thorne (front left) and Grayson Purvis and expanding the native plant garden on their school property thanks to the help of Gr. 5 student Jace Ferris (back left), Gr. 4/5 teacher Marion Stupich and Kindergarten teacher Lisa Maria Schlosser. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

Sooke Elementary plants native plant garden with help from community

Sooke Elementary teachers, students expand backyard garden

They say every plant starts with a seed, but that’s all it took for Sooke Elementary librarian Liz Stannard to realize the opportunity to grow their school’s garden.

Since the beginning of June, Stannard and kindergarten teacher Lisa Maria Schlosser have been building a garden behind Sooke Elementary, located along Highway 14.

It’s a space that most would regard as a pocket garden of sorts, with a 20-by-5-foot area at the edge of the school field. But when school staff heard that the Vancouver Island Regional Library would be building a new two-storey library along Wadams Way, they saw a chance to grow beyond their borders.

Stannard reached out to the District of Sooke and received permission to take native species from the property before construction began. She and Schlosser were able to get their hands on sword ferns, salal, Oregon grape and ocean spray.

READ MORE: Sooke Secret Garden Tour goes virtual

Now, they’re expanding the garden into a small corner of the school property with a large cedar tree as cover. On most school mornings, she’ll hand her students with a plastic shovel and give them the chance to learn how to transplant new species into their garden.

“We wanted to do more hands-on activities for the kids, and this is perfect for that,” said Schlosser, who admits she’s a passionate gardener.

“We, as teachers, could have done this ourselves in no time, but this gives a chance for our students to feel like they’ve accomplished something themselves while spending time outdoors.”

They’ve had help from the district and community members who’ve given their extra native plants, wooden benches from a teacher’s family, and mulch from Sooke Soil and Landscape.

ALSO READ: Food security initiative encourages Sooke residents to grow food at home


 

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