Murray Elementary seedling project

Dr. Alyx Shultz of Murray State University visits with first-grade students at Murray Elementary School as part of a hands-on seedling project.

MURRAY — Dr. Alyx Shultz, chair, agriculture science, Murray State Hutson School of Agriculture, along with MSU Hutson School of Agriculture students who created the curriculum, provided a hands-on seedling project with Murray Elementary School first grade students, (including eight Kentucky and Tennessee classrooms), when they delivered the assembled kits.

With grant funds from the MSU Faculty Innovation Initiative and support from the Hutson School of Agriculture, mobile grow labs occupy two square feet of counter space, while allowing students an up-close and personal hands-on experience growing seedling vegetable plants. After the weather warms this spring, MES students will plant their seedlings in raised beds near the cafeteria. 

This project is a multidisciplinary project funded by the Faculty Innovation Initiative and the Murray State Hutson School of Agriculture. The purpose of this project is to connect our community to healthy, sustainably produced food while teaching students about production agriculture. While MSU students performs hands-on application of technical horticulture and agronomic practices, teaching methods and pedagogy, and contemporary issues in agriculture concepts and terminology, elementary students receive a hands-on science application and a fun introduction into agriculture and food production.

Shultz said she has heard it said, ‘The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.’

“We hope that this project can inspire our next generation to love growing healthy plants and agriculture, one mobile grow lab at a time,” she said.

This project is supported by Dr. Tony Brannon, MSU Hutson School of Agriculture Dean. “His oft-hailed slogan — More than a Degree – has become a motto of this project. Without his support and vision, this project would not have been possible,” Shultz said. Shultz thanked Denise Whitaker, MES principal, for seeing the value in hand-on experiences and allowing their department to share with MES students. 

Shultz extends a special thanks to first grade teachers Jackie Robinson, Shannon Chiles, Kris Buss, Dana Welsh and Courtney Vanover, kindergarten. “We thank our wonderful, eager, fun, engaging kindergarteners, and first grade teachers who volunteered their students, their classrooms and their time to be a part of this project.”

MSU Faculty partners supporting this project included Dr. Kristie Guffey (ag Education), Dava Hayden (horticulture), and Dr. Alyx Shultz (ag science).