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April 14, 2014


MRHSD is a 2014 Growing Green Award Nominee

Maplewood Richmond Heights Middle School and Melissa Breed-Parks, Middle School Gardener, were both nominated for the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter Growing Green Award. Last spring, MRHMS played host to the Sixth annual USGBC Green Schools Event. Educators and professionals who have a desire to improve local schools through green initiatives visited MRHMS to see the green initiatives as well as how they are integrated into learning practices on a daily basis. The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) is a non-profit organization that promotes sustainability in relation to how buildings are designed, built, and operated. MRHMS with the help of Breed-Parks were recognized for their community contributions in making the places where individuals and families live, work and learn greener and healthier.

Melissa Breed-Parks is the Seed to Table Coordinator/Gardener at Maplewood Richmond Heights Middle School. She makes it her mission each and every day to integrate healthy eating, gardening, and sustainability into the core curriculum in the classroom.

“It is a pleasure to see the passion and innovation Melissa brings not only to our sustainability projects but also it is amazing to be awarded the opportunity to witness the integration of her expertise into the classroom.  She definitely has the right mindset for making lessons more meaningful from a green perspective,” commented Michael Dittrich, Principal. 

MRHSD Seed-to-Table program has a curriculum that runs from preschool through eighth grade, with a garden apprenticeship option for high school students. In the middle school, Seed to Table experiences are woven into the curriculum of core subject areas. Seventh grade math classes measure the raised beds and determine the volume of compost that can be produced on campus in our composting system. Eighth grade social studies students pick cotton from the garden as they learn about the early American impacts of cotton on the economy, de-seeding it by hand as they learn about the cotton gin and cotton fabric production. Seventh grade science learns about ecology, systems thinking, and the scientific method by conducting a pollinator study of honey bees and 15 types of native pollinators in the garden. Finally, eighth graders do an art/garden/communication arts integration where they carefully save seeds of over 30 varieties of vegetables and flowers from our gardens, then design and fill attractive seed packets complete with growing information for sale at the first grade's farmers market. 

USGBC celebrated all the nominees at the Sixth Annual Growing Green Awards on Thursday, March 27, 2014 at the Mad Art Gallery in Soulard (St. Louis, MO). Katie Swenson, a national leader in sustainable design for low-income communities was the featured keynote speaker and "Green" Jean Ponzi was the Master of Ceremonies. Jean is the Green Resources Manager at Missouri Botanical Garden's EarthWays Center and Environmental Talk Show Producer and Host at KDHX and KTRS. 

Feel free to visit Missouri Gateway Chapter’s website for more information. All of the nominees are also listed in the March issue of The Healthy Planet Magazine where everyone can learn about their green building & sustainability accomplishments.

For more information, contact MRH School District at (314) 644-4400.