First Lady Jane Beshear's Communications Office
First Lady Jane Beshear Dedicates New Commonwealth Garden at Jefferson County’s Bellewood School

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, September 23, 2015  
Contact Information:  Parry Barrows

ANCHORAGE, Ky. — First Lady Jane Beshear today joined Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) and Bellewood Campus officials, community partners, students and faculty to dedicate a new Commonwealth Garden at the JCPS/State Agency Children’s Program, Bellewood Campus.

Commonwealth Garden designees receive seeds, transplants and one year of gardening consultation from the Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy (GOAP) on topics such as seasonal planting, cultivation, pest management and more.  This year is the second year GOAP has offered this program, and Bellewood is one of only 15 recipients selected from several statewide applicants to receive the Commonwealth Garden designation.  

“Gardening is an exceptional way to teach children math, agriculture, healthy eating and the importance of environmental responsibility,” said Mrs. Beshear.  “Maintaining a garden also gives young people a strong sense of responsibility and the satisfaction of growing and cultivating their own food from start to finish.  Thanks to the many partners who have worked together on the Bellewood Campus garden and congratulations on being designated a Commonwealth Garden.”

The development and expansion of the Bellewood Garden is geared toward a comprehensive multi-tiered pilot program designed to promote interdependent partnerships between educators of JCPS/State Agency Children’s Program, Uspiritus of Kentucky’s Residential Treatment and Care Providers, and community volunteers. These partners are dedicated to the continued support of vulnerable youth and families of the Commonwealth. The outdoor classroom portion of the garden was generously funded by United Parcel Service Foundation, General Electric, AT&T and JCPS/State Agency Children’s Program.

“The Bellewood garden and outdoor classroom is a wonderful opportunity for our students and staff to explore hands-on activities in all content areas as well as contribute and give back to the community,” said Michele Eckels, principal of JCPS/State Agency Children’s Program’s Bellewood Campus. 

The Bellewood garden features tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, lettuce, broccoli, corn, fresh cut flowers, herbs and many other items.  The produce generated on the 2,300 square foot garden and the raised beds in the outdoor classroom will be shared between the residents of Bellewood Campus, the Eastern Area Community Ministries and the Portland Area Community Trust.

About JCPC/State Agency Children’s Programs
The JCPS/State Agency Children’s Programs consist of 13 unique residential and day treatment centers that work collaboratively with treatment partners to provide a therapeutic or rehabilitative school environment. Students are placed in the JCPS/State Agency Children’s Programs through a court commitment, a psychiatric hospitalization, or an identified need for long-term treatment of emotional or behavioral problems. The teaching staff of the JCPS/State Agency Children’s Programs provide instruction in small classes, with an average student-teacher ratio of 10:1. Emphasis is placed on individual instruction and successful transition to home.

About the Commonwealth Garden
The Commonwealth Garden designation is part of the Governor’s Garden Initiative, which was launched by the First Lady in 2009 to encourage businesses, schools, homes and communities to cultivate and maintain their own gardens in an effort to educate Kentuckians about the health and economic benefits of community gardening and utilizing locally grown foods. 

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