by Cassie Mattia

Loveland, Ohio – Would you like to make a difference and give back to the community? Local non-profit, The Loveland Learning Garden, provides the opportunity for anyone to volunteer to help teach local students about the environment, or maintain the vegetable garden, the flower garden, and the nature trail!

The Loveland Learning Garden, located at 600 Loveland-Madeira Road (Loveland Primary and Loveland Elementary school grounds), dedicates everything to giving kids the opportunity to form “lifelong connections to the wonders of the natural world.” The non-profit outdoor education program not only strives to build awareness and community support but also maintains a vegetable garden, a flower garden, and a nature trail that is used for hands-on learning. The over 1,200 Loveland 1st-4th grade students involved are able to get an interactive experience, through a 20-week curriculum (taught by “Garden Educators” during the school day in the Spring and Fall), with nature while still adhering to the academics they are being taught in class. Seeing how food is grown, tasting fresh produce, and harvesting food that is eventually donated to local non-profit LIFE Food Pantry are just a few things students are able to get involved in at the Loveland Learning Garden.

Planting Kale in May at the Loveland Learning Garden

Board President, Laurie Flanagan, chatted with us at the Loveland Learning Garden about why gaining dedicated volunteers is vital to keeping the non-profit education program running.

“In order to successfully sustain our program, we seek people who want to share their talent and ‘dig in’ to join us by taking on leadership roles on our board or owning pieces of work that make the organization run,” Flanagan explained, “Our committees include education, communications, garden and trail maintenance, volunteer recruitment, and grants/fundraising. We have a diverse volunteer base of ages and backgrounds and welcome everyone! For example, we have students from the LHS National Honor Society, Tigers in Service, and the LHS Environmental Club who have helped us, University of Cincinnati students, workgroups, church groups, students from neighboring school districts, local parochial schools, and many individuals from across the Cincinnati area.

Check out the video below to see Laurie Flanagan explain how you can help the Loveland Learning Garden!

During the months of March-October volunteers are heavily needed at the Loveland Learning Garden. If you or your organization would like to volunteer email the Loveland Learning Garden.

The Loveland Learning Garden will be a part of the 2021 Great Outdoor Weekend sponsored by Green Umbrella. On September 25th from 9 AM-1 PM, the Loveland Learning Garden will be holding a scavenger hunt for kids ages 4-10. For more information click the above Great Outdoor Weekend link!

To stay informed on the Loveland Learning Garden’s upcoming events and volunteer opportunities you can visit their Instagram and/or Facebook.

Loveland Learning Garden History
The foundation for Loveland Learning Garden was planted in 2002 as a floral garden on grade school grounds thanks to the vision of a grandmother who wanted to share the joy of picking fresh flowers with children. With the addition of vegetable gardens and a nature trail in the woods behind the school, Granny’s Garden School grew to be one of the most comprehensive school garden programs in the country and was recognized as a model for nature-based education training. In 2016, the founder retired while a new group of leaders, believing in the value of the program to students and the community evolved the nonprofit to its next iteration. Today, with new energy and a refreshed identity, the Loveland Learning Garden operates with strong, collaborative school partnerships, diverse leadership, community involvement, and a continued passion to educate and inspire children to the lifelong benefits found through nature. 

For more ways to get involved with the community stay tuned to the Loveland Salad With ME, Cassie Mattia!

Columnist Cassie Mattia is a resident of Historic Downtown Loveland. She is the Co-Owner, Associate Editor, and Director of Marketing of Loveland MagazineContact Cassie if you are interested in promoting your event or business in Loveland Magazine. Cassie also Emcee’s events so feel free to reach out if you are in need of an Emcee for your next event, fundraiser, or sports-related competition.