The Duncan Elementary School student council is transforming a school courtyard into a garden.

Students met after school March 18 with representatives from Fort Hood’s Environmental Division and Natural Resources Management Branch to get their hands dirty and plant some seedlings.

The students and their expert helpers spread mulch on two empty beds and planted broccoli, basil, strawberries, onions, tomatoes, cilantro and rosemary to begin their gardening venture.

“It’s really cool we get to pick our plants and to have fun,” said third-grader Norah Nunez. “I like that a garden is full of life. I think butterflies will come.”

Madison Hasty, fourth-grader and Duncan student council president said the students decided a couple of months ago to plant the school garden.

“We all like fresh fruits and vegetables,” she said. “I know it will make a lot of kids happy. We won’t have to buy as much because we’ll grow our own.”

“The fun part is to dig and to water the plants,” said fifth-grader Micheala Opoku, the group’s secretary. “We are excited to be able to pick vegetables and to eat from it.”

School counselor Melissa Cruz prepared the beds for planting. She said it was the students who suggested planting a garden in the school courtyard, where tables and chairs provide a gathering place for school staff.

“When you plant it you can eat from it,” said fourth-grader Lat’avia Jordan. “We can discover what planting is like and it’s important to help the environment.”

All of the student comment was music to the ears of Fort Hood natural resources leaders.

Christine Luciano of Fort Hood Natural Resources said it is part of the mission of her group to educate soldiers and their families, including children about caring for the environment.

“They will take pride in this,” she said after helping the students to plant the seedlings. “When you see a group take ownership, you see success.”

Fort Hood will host its annual Earth Day celebration, with about 500 fourth- and fifth-graders scheduled to participate April 25 on the post.

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