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Amelia Earhart Elementary of Provo City School District is sowing the seeds of agricultural knowledge with a grant from Green Our Planet. Thanks to the efforts of Amelia Earhart Teacher, Leilani Nautu, the school’s fifth-graders have delved into hydroponic gardening, cultivating a crop of vertically grown fruits and veggies that have sprouted up to extraordinary heights.

This grant, valued at $10,000, has provided the students with a fertile foundation for exploring STEM concepts like science, technology, engineering, and math. Amelia Earhart’s fifth-grade team harnessed the power of hydroponics, a soil-less farming method that nurtures plants with nutrient-rich water solutions. Beyond the textbooks, hydroponics has sprouted a deeper understanding of conservation, nutrition, and even financial literacy.

The students have embarked on a remarkable journey with their hands in the proverbial soil. They began by germinating seeds, delicately planting them into their hydroponic systems, and meticulously measuring the precise nutrients needed for robust growth. 

Each day, they chart the progress of their leafy companions, skillfully plotting their ascent on graphs. This interactive approach to learning has genuinely blossomed, fostering inquisitive discussions about the practicality and potential of hydroponics, even in the Utah landscape.

Students decreased stress, increased environmental awareness, learned greater responsibility and healthy eating habits– and ended up a little happier, according to Nautu. 

An assortment of delectable produce has flourished under the students’ watchful eyes. The hydroponic garden is a cornucopia of flavors and fragrances, from leafy greens like arugula, basil, lettuce, kale, chives, cilantro, parsley, oregano, and spinach. 

As the year neared its close, students eagerly anticipated the grand finale of their project—a pesto pizza party!

The pesto pizza party is more than just a culinary delight; it is the fruition of their collective efforts. Students diligently nurtured their crops, tending each garden with care and dedication. 

Next year, Nautu and fellow fifth grade teachers Ms. Summers, Ms. Grace, Ms. Davis, Mrs. Hirz plan to expand their hydroponic project, conducting Professional Development with more teachers on the planting process and educational benefits from the program. 

Their greater goal: establish a more significant kit to grow ten times the harvests of smaller units, and get all nineteen classrooms using the kits in class, possibly growing twice per year. 

If their plans– and plants– bear fruit, the teachers intend to host a community night, crop fundraiser, and raise up a love for learning in their students through a unique project.

Amelia Earhart Elementary is proud to have nurtured a love for learning in its students, and this project serves as a testament to their commitment to education. Just as plants thrive under the watchful eye of a dedicated gardener, the young minds at Amelia Earhart flourished through this hands-on, experiential approach. 

We commend the students of Nautu’s class for their green-thumb success; here’s to pesto pizza, innovative teachers like Leilani Nautu, and life-long learning.

Shauna Sprunger
  • Coordinator of Communications
  • Shauna Sprunger