The Skyview Elementary PTA is creating a music garden on the Skyview campus in Dallas, TX. This space features both a vegetable garden and in the late summer of 2016, an installation of outdoor musical instruments, making it the first of its kind in Richardson ISD. This is not a playground, but rather an outdoor learning environment (OLE) for Skyview students, staff and families. 

Our Title 1 school currently serves 775 students. 86% of our students are on a reduced lunch program and 662 of them live at or below the poverty line. Many of our students do not have access to whole foods and do not have a tangible connection with their food sources. Additionally, our students only spend 15 minutes of a 7-hour day outside of school walls. The best an most immediate way to nourish the virtues of food security, land stewardship, leadership, critical thinking, health, compassion and community is by creating a dynamic outdoor learning environment.  

The initial goal for the garden was to fund and install the garden's hard-scaping along with 8 raised beds. Our garden was constructed by a local volunteer, Curtis Scoggins, and his landscape contracting team. He was assisted by Skyview Harmony Garden community partners and Skyview families. 

Skyview Harmony Garden focuses on 100% organic gardening, with the primary concentration on organic edible gardening by seed planting or transplanting-- with a secondary interest in flowers and a pollinator habitat. The second phase of garden construction will include the in-ground installation of three to four musical structures that will anchor the garden layout. Our goal is to involve all the teachers and students and to fully integrate the OLE into the daily curriculum, providing multi- disciplinary learning, aligned with state and national education standards. 

The Skyview Harmony Garden Site

The outdoor classroom and garden is located behind the school in a U-shaped alcove just outside of the gym. It is clearly defined by the walls of the school and ends at the sidewalk. The area is roughly 50 feet x 70 feet. The site is located within an area that has limited access to water, but we have installed a 1,000 gallon metal tank that stores rainwater harvested from the school's rooftop. The sunlight in the specified area is conducive to our needs and receives at least six - 8 hours of direct sunlight daily. The area is easily accessible and conveniently located behind the school, away from busy streets and parking lots.

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