School gardens inspire curiosity in science and environment, expose young people to growing and preparing fresh nutritious foods and provide an important connection to nature. The Walla Walla Valley Farm to School Program, a program of the Sustainable Living Center, is seeking up to four key individuals to take on the vital role of scheduling, coordinating and delivering garden programming in one or more WWPS elementary school gardens as Garden Education Manager (GEM).
The GEM is the primary force behind efforts to utilize and maintain the garden and garden equipment and to promote the benefits of having a school garden to parents and staff. The GEM will work closely with teachers, school principal and parents on several aspects of utilizing, maintaining and building community around the school garden to maximize the educational impact of the garden. The GEM will:
1) Partner closely with the school, PTA and WWVF2S to:
a. Assist with the formation of a School Garden Committee. Participate in planning sessions for school garden sustainability.
b. Work with the PTA to build community around the school garden. Identify & recruit garden volunteers.
c. Offer Garden Club activities outside of regular classroom time (recess, before or after school).
d. Organize and communicate the schedule of school garden use.
e. Bring extra garden produce to the cafeteria for use in meals. Use signage to highlight garden produce.
2) Maintain the school garden as a safe and inviting outdoor class venue. Maintain school garden equipment in good repair, in order, and ready for its next use.
3) Act as the school’s garden point person by becoming familiar with garden resources and working to develop relationships with staff, students and parents to stimulate involvement in garden activities and use.
4) Schedule and prepare lessons and club activities. Preparation will include coordinating with community volunteers to ensure supervision for outdoor lessons and gathering needed materials.
5) Deliver and oversee students’ hands-on activities in the garden.
6) Participate in regular training offered to GEMs and participate in garden walk with supervisor each week.
7) Maintain a garden journal and record activities to report regularly to the school’s principal, PTA and supervisor. Track hours spent on various activities for payroll reporting - template provided.
8) Understand the composting system to help administration, kitchen and maintenance staff feel comfortable about composting and report any composting issues as soon as possible.
Desired Position Skills, Experience, Qualifications:
1) Complete and pass school district criminal background check -required
2) Experience and comfort working with youth ages 5-12
3) Knowledge and skills in small-scale organic food production or home gardening
4) Knowledge of, or interest in, topics including urban gardening, botany, environmental science, health and nutrition, composting, food systems and food access.
5) Strong verbal and written communication skills. Bi-lingual in Spanish is not required, but highly desirable.
6) Ability to work independently to produce strong results with little supervision.
7) Strong organizational skills, computer skills and project management skills.
Comfort in encouraging garden participation and volunteer recruitment.
Successful candidates will work a regular schedule that WWVF2S will work with you to establish based on your availability and in line with the needs of the program. The position will require an initial week of fourteen hours for onboarding training and thereafter an average of ten hours per week. Hours may vary from week to week based on lesson scheduling. For candidates with flexibility and interested in more hours, we will consider assigning you to more than one school. While the position is temporary, high-performing GEMs will have priority consideration for Spring and/or Summer GEM positions.
To APPLY - visit WorkSource Walla Walla and search on Garden Education Manager.