Thursday, April 25, 2002

Planting understanding

Flowers teach racial harmony

By Cindy Kranz,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        SPRINGFIELD TWP. — Third-graders at Welch Elementary School in Pleasant Run planted seeds of harmony Wednesday when they transplanted petunias for two unity gardens.

        The 68 students are among 900 third-graders in 15 schools participating in the Colors of the Earth project, which introduces children to the concept of diversity.

[photo] Volunteer Racelle Weiman (left) helps third-grader Justin Carter plant a flower as part of a program teaching racial harmony.
(Craig Ruttle photo)
| ZOOM |
        “We hope to make them more aware of the benefits of a diverse community by helping them to recognize differences and appreciate them,” said Martha Sarra, a member of Leadership Cincinnati Class XXV, project sponsor.

        The 3,000 seedlings planted by students will grow at a nursery until May 17, when they'll be transplanted in two gardens at Fountain Square and Washington Park in Over-the-Rhine.

        The leadership class uses flowers as an analogy to embracing diversity.

        “Different plants make a beautiful garden, and different people make a beautiful community,” said Ms. Sarra, a senior attorney for Kroger.

        The leadership class is sponsored by the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce to train leaders in the community. The class created the project to address issues related to racial unrest.

        At Welch Elementary, Ms. Sarra talked to students about differences, such as religion, race, heritage and language. Like flowers, people come in different colors.

        “We like colors,” Ms. Sarra said. “That's what makes the world pretty, the different colors of the earth.”

        Along with diversity, students got a dose of science while planting flowers, learning what flowers need to grow. Naturalists from the Cincinnati Park Department and volunteers from the Cincinnati Horticultural Society are assisting leadership team coordinators at the schools.

        Carolyn Campbell, a third-grade teacher at Welch Elementary, said third grade is a good age for the project.

        “They're old enough to understand the concepts and work independently on planting flowers,” she said. “This is the age where they do start to see differences in each other. It's a good time to teach them about working together and getting along.”

        Besides having fun planting the flowers, the students understood the diversity message.

        “It's not good to look at somebody and judge them,” said Jessica Hudson, 9. You should get to know them before you judge them.”

Moment of silence almost law
Smoker may be Ohio's savior
Last Coleman appeal: No telecast
- Planting understanding
City worker charged as loan shark
Curtis Norris, insurance exec, dies at 88
Fine Arts Fund hits goal amid turbulence
Indian Hill asks for help buying land
Lemmie taps two Dayton officials
State allots $1 million for local jobs program
Tristate A.M. Report
HOWARD: Some Good News
PULFER: Modern service
RADEL: The winner
SAMPLES: Sleeping dogs
Deputy accused of making lewd remarks to kids
Lebanon park chief forced out
Milford lot may become new school
Ohio 28 makeover proposed
Prison employee sues to save hair
Township won't back complex
Turning parents into friends
Cleveland mayor wants to keep schools control
Concealed-carry bill holstered
Former housing director gets prison sentence
Murder conviction ruled not proper
Sponsors of legislator's fund-raiser focus of panel
Voting problems investigated
Cabinet member resigns under cloud
Covington cleanup protested
Fund drive to help homeless
GOP blasts campaign funding
Jurors screened for Craven trial
Levee's tax break still in budget
NKU staff, faculty raises in proposed budget
Panel looks at smoking ban
Park burns land to restore trees
Quilter repeats '96 Paducah win
Struggling schools get $3.3-million boost
Teen has $10K to dampen smoking