Ali Dorisca, a student in Monika Moorman’s fifth grade class at Orange Brook Elementary School

Students and teachers at Orange Brook Elementary School are focused on learning about the environment.  In December they were named one of six schools in Florida to earn the Green Apple designation through the Florida Green School Designation Program and now, they’ve created a hydroponic garden with a solar powered irrigation system.

“This garden gives our students an opportunity for hands-on learning,” said Monika Moorman, a fifth-grade teacher at Orange Brook. She began the Green Team at the school and recently lead a group of students and their parents on a beach cleanup project.  Earlier in the school year, the students planted a garden to grow cauliflower, tomatoes, green peppers, onions, okra and other plants.

“All the students, from the youngest to the fifth graders, are working on this garden,” said Moorman. “Even the youngest students can water the plants.”

The hydroponic garden is offering the students a chance to see a different approach to growing food. This garden includes watermelons, basil, cucumbers and lettuce. A solar panel provides heat which creates power for an engine that moves water throughout the garden.

Fifth grade students at Orange Brook Elementary School standing in front of the hydroponic garden. The irrigation system is solar powered.

Ali Dorisca, a  fifth grade student said, “I love working with this garden.”

Tania Tanis, a fifth grade student said, “I like planting vegetables and helping in the garden.

Moorman wants to continue developing the garden project and getting more students and teachers involved.