RANCHESTER, Wyo. — Josey and Katy Foy were excited to return to Tongue River Elementary’s school garden on Thursday.  “I have really missed my teachers and I love Mrs. Maze’s garden,” said Katy. “I’m ready to go back to school!”


The seven year old twin sisters entered an online contest sponsored by KidsGardening.org in April, during Kids Gardening Month.  


Each April, KidsGardening celebrates the joy and wonder of gardening with children by doing special promotions.


This year, as our ways of connecting with one another were dramatically changed by school closings, families and educators were encouraged to use gardening activities to engage kids while everyone was at home. 


The idea was to create a virtual space where everyone could exchange ideas, cheer each other on, provide advice, and generally share our love of gardening with the children in our lives. The hashtag – Let’s #GardenTogetherAtHome! – was used to track the entries on social media.  Any garden activities, lessons, or practices done while at home during the COVID-19 school closures were eligible for entry.


The girls won one of six refurbished AcuRite Atlas weather stations that were up for grabs among other prizes, during the prize drawings held during the months of April and May.  The station monitors high and low temperatures, rainfall totals, strong winds, nearby lightning strikes, UV index and light intensity – all the weather elements that determine a garden’s health! It also includes a remote monitoring feature that can be used in the classroom.


The seed starting kits provided to Sheridan County schools through RiW community partnerships during spring closures were available to over 2,040 kids at schools including Coffeen Elementary, Highland Park Elementary, Sagebrush Elementary, Holy Name School, Meadowlark Elementary, Story Elementary, Tongue River Elementary, Woodland Park Elementary, Big Horn Elementary, and through Science Kids. 


Rooted in Wyoming envisions a future where everyone in our state has access to fresh local foods and is also motivated to grow their own.  Since January of 2016, the organization has contributed over 8,500 hours of volunteer work and facilitated seven gardens into production.


More details about Rooted in Wyoming and volunteer opportunities can be found at www.rootedinwyoming.org.

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