Big ideas and big support can create big change for schools. Starting with the initial vision of a single teacher and bolstered by a donation from the YMCA, Hughes High School and the McMillan Community Garden have developed a successful outdoor learning center.
The garden provides hands-on learning opportunities ranging from STEM offerings to sustainability and nutrition. Science classes, intercessions, Career Tech Pathways, after-school clubs and summer programs have all taken advantage of the space, which has grown continuously since its inception. It is currently outfitted with 21 community plots, 5 contour beds, over a dozen fruit trees, a compost station and more. Support from the Clifton Community, Civic Garden Center, University of Cincinnati and the University Christian Church have all paved the way for the ever-growing project.
The Hughes Garden is a perfect example of how enthusiasm and persistence can overcome the seeming challenges of an urban environment and funding concerns to bring nature to the schoolyard. Thanks to a visionary teacher and supportive school partners, this idea came to life and is now a valuable part of the school’s culture.