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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Students Cleaning Up NMSU's Landscape Demonstration Garden

LAS CRUCES--The landscape demonstration garden at New Mexico State University's Fabian Garcia Science Center is getting a face-lift form horticulture students and volunteers as part of a research project.

Horticulture students and volunteers are redesigning and cleaning up the existing gardens. They're also planning to create more gardens for educational purposes as well as beauty.

NMSU's department of agronomy and horticulture recently reviewed a $72,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service to improve the quality of undergraduate math and science education by getting students involved in developing children's gardens.

"We plan to improve undergraduate education by giving the students more hands-on experience, especially in these gardens," said Laura Davis, a horticulture graduate student who is organizing the project.

Davis is studying the use of gardens as tools for learning and gaining practical, hands-on experience. She said gardens can be used to teach many subjects at any age level.

Once it is completed, the existing garden will be used to teach math concepts to elementary students, Davis said. For example, tree stumps can help students understand the relationship between a circle's circumference and diameter. Also, they'll learn how the length of a shadow relates to tree height.

Last year, students created a maze from a field of millet that helped teach elementary students the history of Don Juan de Oņate's exploration of southern New Mexico. Activities that accompanied the maze focused on different aspects of area history. This year, students will create a corn maze, Davis said.

"Although the gardens are designed with a specific age group in mind, we want them to be beautiful and fun for everyone," Davis said.

Workers meet on Wednesday afternoons from 2-5 and on Thursdays at 1:30. New volunteers are welcome at the garden, which is located on University Avenue one-quarter mile west of South Main Street.