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Innovative Education Program Launched

Nichole WalkerThe amount of great opportunities for youth education in the Madison Valley just increased, and a new champion for this effort has taken the reins on an innovative idea.

After several months of planning and discussing with partners, Nichole Walker has become the first person to lead the GROWW Program.  Hidden within this name is the intent of the effort; coordinate the opportunities for youth education on Gardening, Resources, Outdoors, Watersheds, and Wildlife.

After years of working cooperatively with area youth in the Ennis School System, as well as with the annual Good Thymes Camp during the summer months, the GROWW Program seeks to continue a great legacy of using the highly successful school garden and the outdoor classroom to teach common curriculum and to instill an appreciation for the value of our landscape.

“We couldn’t be more excited about seeing this program come together and hiring Nichole to lead the charge.  She’s shown already that her energy and her commitment will be a great benefit for the kids,” proclaims Janet Bean-Dochnahl of Madison Farm to Fork, one of the major partners in the effort.  “Ennis School System has been so great to work with over the years, and we are so happy to see this energy continue”.

While these types of lessons have been ongoing for a number of years, the GROWW Program is the first effort to coordinate everything with a single individual.  Nichole will be based in the school, available to provide assistance to teachers interested using these topics in their classrooms.  Additionally, Nichole will serve as the director of the award winning Good Thymes Camp, assisted by another well-known personality in education for our area, Cori Koenig.

Because of the support of local groups, the program will start Nichole small and sustainable, with the goal to grow as successes are accomplished.  Current support has been provided by Ennis School District, Madison Conservation District, Madison River Foundation, Trash in Transit, and Madison Valley Ranchlands Group.  The groups have worked together to get the program in place, as a direct benefit to our community’s youngest residents.

The first major event for the GROWW Program will be the registration day for the Good Thymes Camp.  We encourage everyone to come and meet Nichole and Cori May 6-7 at the enrollment session at Ennis Elementary School from 3-4:30 PM.  We welcome the community to this event, and to learn more about the GROWW Program in our area.

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