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JIS receives Cawaco grant for greenhouse

Jemison now has the funding to build a greenhouse and wildlife habitat for its outdoor classroom project thanks to a $15,000 grant from Cawaco RC&D Inc.

“We’re just elated,” JIS Principal D.J. Nix said.

According to Nix, construction of the greenhouse is part of the phase two portion of the outdoor classroom project.

Nix expressed excitement not only for the learning potential the greenhouse will provide students but also the opportunities it will create for the students and the community to interact more.

“It’s going to give us a chance to really do community service and give back,” Nix said. “One of our goals is to feed the homeless and do things for those in nursing homes.”

Ways in which the school hopes to help others is by providing food grown by students in the greenhouse to those in need through a partnership with the City of Jemison.

“We’d like to thank Cawaco,” Nix said. “They like the things that we are doing with our outdoor classroom, walking trail, weather station, outdoor chess club and hydroponic system.”

The school maintenance department already has the plans for the greenhouse and are expecting to have it completed by a tentative date of Feb. 1, 2021.

“We’re ready to roll,” Nix said. “We’re excited about the future here at Jemison Intermediate and our hands-on, project-based learning.”

As is the case with all the other aspects of the outdoor classroom, the goal is to have every class take part in the greenhouse in some form or another.

“With COVID, there comes obstacles, and with us at JIS we’ve turned those obstacles into opportunities,” sixth grade teacher Rachel Pearson said. “We’re seeing that growth, and it’s great when people continue to invest in our students and our community.

A variety of plants are planned to be grown inside the greenhouse once it is built.

“We plan to have a vegetable and fruits area so that we can produce for our community, as they have for our students,” Pearson said. “It’s a great opportunity for students to see where the food they eat comes from start to finish.”