— Albert Einstein
Nature is a great classroom. Guided by creative and dedicated teachers and Murch’s Science Coordinator, our students live and breathe the lessons nature provides in science, math, art, language arts, history, nutrition, and environmental stewardship. Murch’s outdoor learning centers include an organic vegetable garden, an herb garden, a native plant and butterfly garden, an abundance of trees, including six varieties of fruit trees, a perennial art and textile garden, a rain barrel and compost center, and many flowers. Our students also bring the outdoors in, whether by hatching chicks in the classroom, caring for pet frogs, sprouting seeds under grow lights, or raising butterflies to release in the butterfly garden. In our classrooms, gardens, and natural play yard, our students grow in mind, body, and spirit.
Murch’s campus is a Certified Wildlife Habitat, designated by the National Wildlife Federation. DC Schoolyard Greening designated Murch as a Schoolyard Conservation site even before most of our gardens and recycling programs were added. We are fortunate to have in our urban DC campus the most diverse tree canopy of any DC school, according to Casey Trees. The campus is bounded by national park land, providing students a vista of green space from the playground up to Deal Middle School. Murch was also a pilot site for the DC Department of General Services’ school composting program. Our garden education program was highlighted in First Lady Michelle Obama’s kick off event for Chefs Move to Schools in June 2010, as well as in news stories by CNN, independent documentaries, and local news outlets. GreenScene, our dedicated parent volunteer organization, maintains the educational gardens and supports our teachers’ use of the outdoor learning centers to reinforce the curriculum with experiential learning.
Murch is honored to have had great local chefs teach our children about healthy local foods and how to prepare them. Cooking demonstrations and farm to school events are also tied to learning standards, covering topics such as how civil war soldiers might have cooked potatoes, how the American colonists flavored and preserved their food, the science of liquid-solid-gas transformations, and weights and measures, of course.
Year after year, Murch students observe, touch, smell, listen, study, taste, and come to understand everything better.
How Do Our Gardens Grow? With Your Help!
To volunteer for one of the many rewarding gardening projects at Murch, please contact GreenScene Coordinator Lisa Burke.